Obviously this beer hasn’t made a good impression among higher end beer aficionados, and I can understand why. However, I must preface my review with this simple reminder: it’s a novelty item. What should we really expect?
This beer cannot be compared to any serious beers. It won’t compete with APAs or IPAs, porters, Pilsners, or upper grade pale lagers. It’s a gimmick! But it’s a fun one, and I actually didn’t think it was too bad, for what it is.
Upon pouring this beer, I became curious but wasn’t immediately put off. It poured very effervescent, and the fizzy froth quickly dissipated as it does with a soda like ginger ale. No head.
The lack of head did not set off any alarms. It seems that the oils, or some component from the chili pepper, interfered with the (certainly already minimal) residual starches in the beer, and prevented any sort of head retention. Maybe the lack of head was intentional. Face it, that pepper has been sitting in there, and would have contributed to a super spicy nose. It was essentially dry-hopped, …er dry-peppered.
Moving on… The first sip imparted a subtle Corona-ish, or maybe more of a Land Shark Lager-ish, flavor, which was quickly replaced by a steady heat that swelled quick and seemed to build moderately until fading away. No striking aftertaste, and no sort of hops characteristics at all. Not bitter, just a light lager with a burn.
The pepper heat seemed to smooth out a bit as the beer rested in the glass, but maybe that was because my tongue was already conditioned to the onslaught. Being that it is a pale lager reminiscent of those I mentioned earlier, I wonder if it would taste any better with a lime slice in it?
As a novelty beer it was interesting, fun, and not so bad that I’d condemn it. I definitely would not lump it in with more serious beer offerings. It is what it is. Would I buy another? … maybe.
Possible Chemical Explanation for why there is no real head to speak of, and no head retention in Cave Creek Chili Beer… Not that I know what the heck I’m talking about, but with the help of my sciencey fiancé, Cindy, who has some background in chemistry, I figure that the amphipathic polypeptide chains that form the head on beer are being broken at the carboxyl group by capsaicin molecules present in the oils of the chili pepper. Of course, I could be way off.
If anyone with some decent chemistry background can help out with this explanation that would be great. Please comment!