Six kinds of hot chili peppers go into this fiery-ass beer including the infamous ghost pepper. Serrano, jalapeno, habanero, fresno & anaheim also lend their rich flavors to make for a taste-sizzling good time. Keep away from children and the tepid of tongue.
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Chili beer is any beer that’s been subject to added spiciness — things like oils and juices from hot peppers like jalapeño, habanero, serrano and others. These beers may also include a full pepper inside the bottle, reminiscent of the mezcal grub but perhaps a bit more palatable (depending on your respective preferences for spice and/or worms). Chilis are most often added to lighter beers like pale ales and lagers, though, of course, there are many people making beer out there and the results span a wide range of offerings.
Chili beer is a surprise to the taste buds, but only if you go into it blind. You know the taste of light beers like lagers and pale ales? Now think of the taste of a chili pepper like jalapeño, habanero or serrano, mix the two together and you’ve got a good idea of what chili beer holds for you. That is not to say that they’re not a delight — chili beers are interesting, fun, exciting and can do various things, from titillating your tonsils to raining down upon your vulnerable palate with an unholy hellfire of pain. Depends on what you’re into.
Chili beer can be expected to pack around the same alcohol content as normal beer — around 4.8% alcohol by volume (the average beer has 5% alcohol by volume). That’s because chili beer isn’t really very different from normal beer, but merely has chili pepper juice, oil or whole peppers themselves added after fermentation to lend flavor. So you can mostly expect chili beer to consist of lighter beers like lagers and pale ales.
Chili beer is a particularly unique beast. To decide what it pairs well with, you should first ask yourself: what’s a food you enjoy but wish had a little more attitude to it? A good approach is to start with foods that already have a fairly strong taste because you don’t want your beer to completely overpower what it’s being paired with. If the chili beer is an IPA, for instance, you may want to pair it with things like burgers, tacos and other salty fares. But not-too-spicy chili beers also go well with sweeter treats like fruit.
If you must put your money on one glass to use to drink chili beer, that glass would be a snifter. The snifter has a super short stem and is meant to be cradled by your hand instead of delicately held by the stem. This type of glass is the go-to choice for beers with higher alcohol contents like wheat wines, Belgian ales and other higher-gravity beers. If they look familiar, that’s because they’re usually the glass of choice for brandy and cognac; however, they are great for aromatic beers like chili beer.
You can expect a chili beer to have a wide range of calorie and carb counts, depending on the type of beer the chili has been added to. For instance, if chili has been added to an IPA, the calories will probably hover around 240 and the carbs around 27 grams (yes, IPAs are quite heavy). However, if the chili is accompanying lighter fare like Mexican lager, you can reasonably expect about 148 calories and 14 grams of carbs. For context, the average beer has 150 calories and 13 grams of carbs in a 12 oz. serving.