When news about the hottest beer in the world, Ghost Face Killah, went national, the staff at Boulder's Twisted Pine Brewing was a little nervous. After all, they'd named the beer, which is made with ghost peppers, after rapper Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan without asking for his permission.
But this week, Wu-Tang's manager called Twisted Pine founder Bob Baile and signed off on it. His only request: a couple of cases sent to New York.
"They are completely ecstatic. They thought it was the coolest thing in the world," says brewery spokeswoman Jody Valenta. "They weren't worried about trademarks or anything, which is what we were hoping, but not necessarily what we expected."
Valenta thinks Wu Tang -- and Ghostface Killah himself -- probably found out about the beer from Rolling Stone magazine, or maybe from the L.A. Times, or maybe from any number of other hip hop magazines that ran little stories about it.
"It's been a lot of fun," Valenta says about the national attention.
But now people are calling and e-mailing from all over the country asking for it. Sadly for them, Twisted Pine only made 100 cases of Ghost Face Killah (or roughly 7.5 barrels) and it will only be sold in single, twelve-ounce bottles in liquor stores in Colorado.
"For most people, a four-pack or a six-pack of Ghost Face Killah is too much," Valenta says; ghost peppers, also known as bhut joloklia, are 200 times hotter than jalapenos. "Most people will probably open a single bottle and share it between friends."
Twisted Pine will begin pouring the beer in five-ounce glasses at its tap room on Cinco de Mayo -- and serving it with a queso dip made from the beer -- but won't be putting it on tap. "It's so hot, you can't even put it on tap. It will destroy your tap line," Valenta says, adding that the brewery had to replace its tap line after serving the beer on tap last year.
"The heat starts on the insides of your cheeks and on your tongue in the same way that eating a popper or a bowl of green chile might. But then, the smoky warmth of the peppers travels down in the back of your throat, where it simmers. Take another sip, and your lips start to burn, like you're wearing pepper Chapstick. That was the flame that took the longest to extinguish."
Right now, the brewers are toying with the idea of making a second batch (it takes about two weeks to produce). If they do, they're likely to repeat their Ghost Face Brewing ritual. "Everyone has to try a tiny piece of the pepper before we brew...and we listen to Wu-Tang while we're brewing and in the tap room," Valenta says.
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And before this, we only knew that Ghostface wasn't a Budweiser fan (listen to the intro.)