Beer Man

Twisted Pine to brew beer with ghost peppers -- the hottest chiles in the world

The annual Snowmass Chili Pepper Brew Fest in June attracts some of the best chili cooks in the state to an International Chili Society-sanctioned cook-off. It also attracts beer geeks looking to sample some of the best brews made in Colorado.

So you would think that Twisted Pine Brewing Company's Billy's Chilies beer, which combines the best of both of those worlds, would have been cheered.

Instead, says Twisted Pine spokesman Mike Burns, people wanted more. "The reaction from the crowd there was, 'Don't you have anything hotter?'"

Be careful what you wish for, chiliheads!

Earlier this month, a brewer at Boulder's Twisted Pine bought some dry ghost chilies - you know, the hottest peppers in the world -- from the Savory Spice Shop location in Boulder and, presumably after some drinking, dropped a couple of them in a sampling of Twisted Pine beers and let the beers chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Ghost peppers, or Bhut Jolokia, are grown in India and have a Scoville rating (the Scoville scale measures the hotness of a pepper) of 1,041,427 units, making them 200 times hotter than a jalapeno. They are so hot that the Indian army, according to an AP story this week, is looking at ways to include their seeds in smoke grenades that could be against rioters or to flush out terrorists in confined spaces.

Or they could just put them in beer.

"Even sixteen hours later, it was crazy how much heat they picked up," Burns says of the poor innocent ales that Twisted Pine experimented with. " Once you get over the heat, though, it has a nice smokiness to and it has more than one kind of heat. It goes down the back of your throat."

Over the next few weeks, the brewers at Twisted Pine are going to work on brewing a "well balanced" beer made with the ghost peppers that should be ready in time for this year's Snowmass Chili Pepper Brew Fest. The working name: Ghost Face Killah, although that hasn't been set in stone yet, Burns add.

You'll want to try it, or the terrorists win.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes