August 3, 2015

Let's Talk About Beer: Evil Twin - Fire Water

I have a few loves in my life. First and foremost my family. But a close second and third are beer and spicy hot food. And at least those two don't hide my car keys after they finish eating dinner in their high-chair.

Most times when it comes to beer and that kind of heat, if you are enjoying them both it is as two separate elements. Beer and BBQ. Beer and hot wings. Beer and some crazy-ass Thai dish that feels like it's burning a hole right through your tongue.

But sometimes the most enjoyable way to consume beer and heat is as a cohesive, single beverage. One of my favorites was the Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale which used anaheim chiles and cinnamon. Now anaheim chiles are not all that hot, so the 11.11.11 was mild but quite enjoyable. On the other end, also from Stone, was Punishment. The heat in that was akin to a nuclear blast and such that you needed another beer at the same time to quell the heat.

I don't find that quite as enjoyable. With beer, the only thing I enjoy in an "overpowering" fashion is hops. When you allow outside flavors to completely take over a beer, I feel like you lose part of what makes beer so enjoyable. The real trick with heat (or anything extra) when it comes to beer is to have one complement the other. That goes for fruit, bourbon barrel aging, whatever.

Which brings me to Evil Twin Brewery and their new release called Fire Water. If you aren't familiar with Evil Twin, it's a gypsy brewery started in Copenhagen, Denmark by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who has since moved to Brooklyn. If the name Bjergsø sounds familiar, it's because Jeppe has a twin brother Mikkel. Mikkel Borg Bjergso runs Mikkeller. Oh, and because they hate one another.

Fire Water is a pale ale that has had jalapeno peppers added. Now, that may sound intimidating to some but you have to remember that the jalapeno isn't that much hotter than the anaheim chili. So you aren't talking about tear-inducing heat with this beer.

The first taste is that of any finely-crafted pale ale. And then the jalapeno hits. But it's interesting; the jalapeno gives you a hint of sweetness at first. That tails into a heat that isn't overwhelming at all. It lingers on the back of your tongue and while you notice it, it is not an unpleasant sensation. Even as it builds over drinking the bottle, it never reaches a point where it becomes uncomfortable.

Jeppe has really found the right balance with Fire Water. You notice the heat, but it never overwhelms the beer or the experience of drinking the beer. Which is the problem I had with Punishment. This is a good beer to drink while relaxing in the shade on a summer's day or while eating a burger. Or just because you like good beer.

Fire Water is a limited release. So if you can find it, buy it.


Beer: Evil Twin Fire Water

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Pale Ale / Chile

Price: Between $10 - $12 for a 22 oz. bottle

Recommendation: Strong Buy


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