Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peppers in Your Beer

It was a crisp cold Sunday with clear blue skies. It was noon as I was driving home, when I was seized by a craving for tamales. A quick check revealed no other lunch plans, so I cruised by the Dallas Tortilla and Tamale Factory, picked up a quick two dozen, a bag of chips some of their incendiary hot sauce and headed for the house. 

The tamales were still warm, we just grated some cheese, drizzled some hot sauce and melted the cheese in the microwave. They were moist,meaty and delicious with the rich flavors of pork and fat (they still use lard) permeating the masa. Delicious and comforting.

The meal called for beer and we pulled a large 750 ml bottle of Chipotle Porter from Mikkeller, a dark, rich ale brewed with Chipotle Peppers. The rich, bitter chocolate flavors faded to reveal the spice of the peppers punctuating the finish. The porter integrated well with the rich corn and took the flavors down into earthiness.

We don't hear a lot about European craft breweries. Part of the reason is the highly developed level of craft in traditional European breweries, which provide the inspiration and models for the American craft brewers. Europe does not have the great void of quality beer that has afflicted the America's until recently.

Mikkeller is based in Copenhagen and their products are just now beginning to penetrate the Southwest.

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