Boulder's Twisted Pine Brewing Company is bottling fire.
The brewery, which is fond of adding unusual flavors to its whimsically named beers, will release Ghost Face Killah in twelve-ounce single bottles for Cinco de Mayo. It's the first time this very hot (very hot!) cult beer has been sold in bottles.
The beer is made with five well-known peppers -- Anaheim, Fresno, jalapeno, Serrano and habanero -- and one uncommon one: the ghost pepper (known in India as bhut jolokia) which, with 200 times the heat of jalapenos, are the hottest peppers in the world. Brewer Eric Mosiman says the crew wore masks and gloves to cut the peppers.
Twisted Pine got the idea to brew Ghost Face Killah in the summer of 2009, after drinkers at the Snowmass Chili Pepper Brew Fest complained that the brewery's popular Billy's Chilies beer (availble in six-packs) wasn't spicy enough for them.
So the brewers experimented with some beers and eventually settled on a wheat beer, soaking the peppers in it after it had fermented. They served it for the first time on Cinco de Mayor last year and took it to Snowmass the following summer.
When I tried it (see the video here), I wrote that "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."
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And aside from the odd sensation of having a beer heat you up rather than cool you down, the beer is actually tasty, smoky and well balanced.
Twisted Pine has submitted Ghost Face Killah to the Guinness Book of World Records, hoping to have it named as the hottest beer in the world.