Hello. My name is Mark..."Hi, Mark!"
And I am a chile-head. I've had the pepper monkey on back for, oh, about 25 years now. Just last month, I made some chili for my family and, I... I... made a second pot all for myself with a bunch of Habaneros from my secret stash! I just can't help myself! I love the exquisite pain from the burn on my tongue. Because it feels so good when I stop! The adrenaline rush from a Red Savina hab is all the excercise I get anymore!"Awwww!"
But the worst part of it all? Is that I can't resist a... Chile Beer! I've even learned to make it myself!
Okay, I think we get the drift. But there are beers made with chile out there much better than that Cave Creek shizzle with the Jalapeño stuffed in the bottle like the worm in the bottom of a Mezcal. I discovered this on a vacation visit to my aunt in Denver in 2000. For fun my wife and I decided to take the scenic route back, down to New Mexico to pick up Rt. 66 on our return. At the town of Taos is a little brewpub called Eske's, built in a standard adobe building with much of its seating in a courtyard around picnic tables. I'm liking it already. Then I tried their specialty Green Chile beer, infused with the region's big roasted green chile peppers. I was hooked. Especially when the next day we drove through Santa Fe on Labor Day, at the height of the chile harvest, and could smell chile roasters operating from roadside carts at every intersection.
That was part of the reason I dove into homebrewing, to make my own chile beer, and come up with interesting varieties, like wheat beers and Scotch ales with chipotles; and a Molé porter, one bottle of which I added a piece of Chocolate Habanero to, which took the "Spookiest Brew" award at the Chicago Beer Society's 2003 Spooky Brew competition.
So when a local brewer takes on a chile beer, I am usually right there. Bent River in Moline actually has a Jalapeño pepper ale in its regular rotation. Flossmoor Station tried a "Hot Beer" under brewer Matt Van Wyk, but that was not repeated.
Now comes the tantalizing news that Flossmoor's current brewmaster, Bryan Shimkos, will be offering a chile beer this Friday, October 29; one using the current Guinness record holder for hottest pepper known to man. In a blog entry titled "Don't Be Afraid of the Ghost," Bryan writes:
This Friday at 5:00 p.m. we will be tapping a very limited amount of a brew especially made for the Halloween festivities. After receiving numerous inquiries into whether we would be doing a Halloween beer, we have and it is scary. We have infused a little ghost pepper (a.k.a. Bhut Jolokia) into our Iron Horse stout and have made Ghost of the Iron. We used just a single pepper in 7.5 gallons.
Widely recognized as the hottest pepper in the world, the Bhut Jolokia measures in at over ONE MILLION Scoville heat units. Not just hot though, the Ghost pepper also has a very nice smoky flavor when dried and adds an additional dimension than just pure heat. We do not promise this beer is balanced and actually are hoping that this is a pretty intense brew. Drink at your own risk!
I have yet to sample the intense joys of this little demon. I am wishing to visit Jake Melnick's "Battle of the Bhut" contest November 11th, where competitive eaters will face off to down Melnick's wing doused with Bhut pepper sauce. I think I'd just try one, though.
But if I can get my stars to align properly, I will want to hit Flossmoor this Friday and make Ghost of the Iron my introduction to the Bhut. Flossmoor Station is at 1035 Sterling Ave. in Flossmoor. Easy access by Metra Electric train: it is, in fact, the old Flossmoor train station. Phone (708) 957-BREW.