We’re putting an awful lot of things into beer these days. I thought the Add Shit To Cheap Booze movement had hit its peak with the double whammy of Cubanisto rum beer and Manzana Loca cider-and-tequila-monstrosity hitting the big pub chains simultaneously last summer, but it keeps on happening. Fosters has recently revealed its Fosters Rocks line of lagers with rum jammed into them, with a name that pretty much BEGS to be zinged around into “Fosters Sucks”. The supervillains behind Dead Crow Bourbon Flavoured Beer (please add your own pithy speech marks as required) recently launched a one with rum in it. I bet it’s not good.
Leave it to B&M Bargains, a UK chain of shops which sells beers ranging dramatically from the divine to the 100% profane, to sell a beer that brutally and simplistically trumps the current scrabble to stick stuff in beer and sell it. Leave it to B&M Bargains to sell a bottle of lager with a fucking chili in it, for 69p.
Leave it to me to drink it, just in case it’s poisonous.
The initial scent hit on opening the bottle isn’t too bad. There’s biscuity notes and a pleasingly tingly sensation of both the smell and the burn of the chili within. So far, so not-awful.
Then there’s the pour, an unsurprisingly watery pour that fills out from a coppery haze to a quite pleasant gold. Then the chili slides out like a baby’s shit and this beer goes from “at least intriguing” to “no me gusta” in half a second. It floats, arrogantly, just below the surface. A faecal whale that has finally escaped the crushing deep waters, buoyed up by the extreme carbonation. There is unsuprisingly zero head.
Somewhere the secretary of a CAMRA branch just twitched and went pale, and will never know why.
The nose from the glass is full-on chili, the biscuity notes totally overpowered by the now-freed pepper. The first mouthful is even more full-on chili. Chili turned up to 11. Fizzy chili water with no beery notes to detect at all, just the weird mix of spicy heat, CO2 fizz and fridge cold. Holding it in the mouth to forensically scrape it for at least some complexity is like looking directly at the sun.
With about a finger and a half of beer remaining in the glass, and the flakes from the slowly-disintegrating chili more noticeable, hints of the taste of the lager beneath the spice do come through. It’s hard to pin down, as the chili notes drag the taste of the lager down below to die, but it unsurprisingly tastes a little like Corona.
The final mouthful is coruscating, head sweating spice, as the chili bobs up and down against the lips.
On careful consideration, and in conclusion, I can assuredly say that Cave Creek Chili Beer is a beer that exists.