I was going to begin by saying that autumn is my favorite season, but I really like all four seasons in Colorado. I grew up about 20 miles from Chicago in the very northwest corner of Indiana, “da region”, and winters were always bitterly cold and summers hot with a large dose of humidity. I know, I know…some of you live in places with weather more extreme on one end of the thermometer or the other. So even despite the recent massive flooding (and we were fortunately spared), the weather in Colorado is so much more enjoyable with its occasional 60° days in December and the usual one day snowstorm in April or May.
But fall means my annual trek to my favorite Hatch green chile stand, Roasted Chile.com, just north of Evans on Santa Fe, east side. http://www.roastedchili.com/. The aroma is intoxicating and could I bottle it as cologne, I’m sure my wife would sweep me up to the bedroom once she caught a whiff.
So my yearly allocation of four bushels of chiles have now been skinned, stemmed, seeded, and placed in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Green chile sauce, green chile stew, white chicken chili, red chili, and as an addition to everything from eggs to mac and cheese.
So visions of green chiles were dancing in my head as we sat down at the Copper Kettle Brewing Company, located in a rather unassuming small office park and realizing that we used to live only 3 miles from the place. (Note to folks…Ignore the barricades and NO PARKING CROSS FIT signs. There is ample parking and we were there during a Broncos telecast.)
Then I got to thinking (or “thinnin'” as Quick Draw McGraw was wont to say). My favorite dark chocolate is Lindt’s Chile Chocolate and this combination is popular in some more complex Mexican sauces, such as moles. What addition could make this combination even more tantalizing? Okay, you probably first thought of bacon and that crossed my mind as well, but once I laid my eyes on this menu item, I thought “strand me on a desert island (temperate) with this beer… a Mexican Chocolate Stout.”
We ordered the taster tray and, to my amazement, there were not one, not two, but THREE stouts. Pinch me, dear. I certainly enjoyed each of them, but my palate fell in love with….
From the brewery website-
2011 GOLD MEDAL WINNER AT GREAT AMERICAN BEER FEST – HERB AND SPICE CATEGORY
A RICH BLACK ALE WITH DARK ROASTED MALT FLAVORS BLENDED WITH BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE, OUR OWN BLEND OF THREE MEXICAN CHILI PEPPERS AND CINNAMON. INSPIRED BY A 500 YEAR OLD AZTEC RECIPE FOR MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE.
So, gentle readers, I bought a bomber for home consumption so I could swoon in private.
The color is nearly as dark as a beer can get with a lingering sliver of foam about the edge of the glass. Geek stats- IBU 50, ABV 7%, 54°F drinking temperature. I could smell the chocolate and sense the capsaicin (the hot component in peppers) in the back of my throat. My previous experience with chile beers had been disappointing, all burn and liquid smoke. But this nectar was perfectly balanced, chocolate, spice and a gentle tingle on the tongue. This is knee-weakening delicious!
WARNING…your palate may be more or less sensitive than mine, so you could end up feeling like a fire-breathing dragon or wondering if there are any chiles in the beer. I like my Mexican dishes with a medium amount of heat, jalapeños, but not trinidad moruga scorpions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BfxlTwcLjI).
I enjoyed this beer all on its own. Definitely steer away from any spicy dessert as there could very well be an exponential heat effect, but I think this beer would pair well with any dark chocolate dessert from mousse to cake. If someone makes bacon-flecked dark chocolate, I may never write again.
All images from the web except for chiles roasting and
the Chocolate Mexican Stout.