Solano Chili Beer
Solano is a chili craft beer made using roasted Hatch chili peppers from Weber, Colorado, roasted by one of my esteemed colleagues. The intent was to produce a chili craft beer whose focus was not on intense heat, but rather on the flavors and aromas of the wonderful roasted Hatch chili. There is a spiciness to this craft beer, but it only lingers for a moment. Solano melds the rich flavors of roasted chilis and American malts, resulting in a flavorful beer that is slightly spicy with just a hint of smokiness. Solano is quite nice paired with food (but use it in the food as well – try using it when making a beer can chicken, then serve Solano alongside. 6.0% ABV.
Addenda: Well known with wines, but less so with beer: “terroire” effects the final product – every year crops can be different. You may find this year’s production of Solano to have less “heat,” but more roasted chili flavor and aroma. That is because, for a variety of reasons – temperature, amount of moisture, etc. – the chili peppers we used this year were less aggressive than last year’s – even though they were grown in the same location (the same farm in Weber, Colorado) and even harvested from the same row! Me? I love the slight variances from year to year. Frankly, I would rather things not be exactly the same – I like the variations. Consistency, yes. Redundancy, no. The recipe and procedures this year were exactly the same as last, but the chili peppers are different. For those of you wishing spicy heat, you may not find it in this year’s batch. You will find more roasted Hatch chili flavor and aroma. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to find yourself looking forward to each year’s variation – and the joy to be found in the difference with each year’s harvest.