I've used beer to cool the fires of green chile, Buffalo wings and jalapeno poppers. I've chugged it like water on scalding hot days and sipped it like wine to help turn down the heat of fiery discussions. I've drank it warm, but heaven is when it's cold.
So, what would it be like to drink a beer made with six different kinds of peppers, including the ghost pepper, known as the world's hottest? A beer that heats you up instead of cooling you down? I found out today.
Boulder's Twisted Pine Brewing decided to make a beer using ghost peppers after drinkers at last year's Snowmass Chili Pepper Brew Fest complained the company's well-known Billy's Chilies beer wasn't spicy enough for them.
But brewer Jeff Brumley wasn't happy with just ghost peppers (grown in India, they are 200 times hotter than a jalapeno). He added Anaheim, Fresno, jalapeno, Serrano and habaneros to the mix -- a wheat-style beer that was dubbed Ghost Face Killah.
Twisted Pine tapped the keg today, shortly before opening up its tap room for a Cinco de Mayo party, and I was there to check it out - and I'm still feeling it. (The party continues until 9 p.m. tonight, by the way, and although it only has one keg of Ghost Face Killah, it is also pouring a delicious chocolate chile beer called Holy Mole.) 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.
"I though it was going to be spicier to be honest," says brewery spokesman Mike Burns, who sipped on a four-ounce glass of Ghost Face Killah. But he's happy it wasn't.
The flavor of this beer, which will be brewed again for this June's Snowmass Chili festival, is actually fairly well-balanced, however, offering rich, fiery flavors. But it definitely burns, bring a couple of manly tears to my eyes.
Twisted Pine has been in contact with the Guinness Book of World Records in an effort to get the beer ranked as the hottest in the world, but that may take some time.
For a video of our tasting session, check back with the Beer Man blog next week. Find him online at @ColoBeerMan.