There are always trends in beer, and lately it seems like things are getting kinda spicy. Now, I love a good salsa (or spicy Bloody Mary) as much as the next person, but pepper in beer is a mixed pint. On the one hand, you have Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter Cocoa Chipotle, a Chile beer with so much over-powering pepper that I don’t know how anyone could drink more than a shotglass (i.e. The Bitch is Not In The Mood); on the other, you have Horseheads Brewing’s Hot-Jala Heim Beer With Bite, infused with jalapeno, anaheim and habanero peppers, which is quite mild on the palate and would pair well with a cheese or mild sausage (i.e. The Bitch is Very Happy).
The best of these styles I’ve tasted was actually a homebrew (I believe it was a Belgian Style Saison infused with jalapeno) brewed by my friend Mary Izett. I had it last summer at the Funky 8, an annual round-up of beer lovers drinking American beers in the Belgian Style. However, if I’m going to choose among the commercially available beers I’ve tried, I’ll go with Brasserie Dieu du Ciel’s Route Des Épices (Ale Rousse Au Poivre). This Rye beer made with peppercorn by itself would make the Bitch Ecstatic, but the fact that I was drinking it with Mr. Chocolate, Clay Gordon, who happened to have brought along some Laurent Gerbaud (Brussels) 75% blend chocolate, a blend of Ecuador and Madagascar chocolate laced with Madagascan black pepper? Well, let’s just say the Bitch is Orgasmic.
If you want to do the pepper, grab Dieu du Ciel. And some kick-ass spicy chocolate to pair with it.