Six Rivers Chili Pepper Ale Review: Keep On Burning

Six Rivers Brewery’s Chili Pepper ale really is what the name implies it is: ale brewed with chili peppers! Six Rivers is located in McKinleyville, California, and includes a brasserie (brewpub). The current owners, Talia Nachshon and Meredith Maier, bought the facilities in 2004 and have seen great success since.

Six Rivers Chili Pepper Ale (6.0% ABV) is the company’s popular Weatherman Wheat Ale infused with roasted chili peppers. The wheat ale base is a decent ale in its own right. It has a wheat content of 50%, giving it that spicy quality of wheat ales. And adding chili peppers on top of it may seem like overkill, but we will see. If the thought of drinking chili peppers with beer seems odd, remember that the ancient Maya drank beer and chocolate with chili peppers and other spices. So what is wheat ale with chili peppers like?

Everything On Tap Review – Six Rivers Chili Pepper Ale:

Bottle: The brown glass bottle sports a flaming red label with yellow and white lettering. The logo looks to be a seductive, anthropomorphic lady chili pepper in a blue veil and cape.

Pour: The color is a rather odd orange-yellow-amber, with almost perfect clarity. The head is about half a finger thick, plain white, and dissipates relatively quickly, leaving little to no lacing.

Aroma: There is a light aroma of orange, a light bready undertone, a faint bitterness, and the very clear, pungent bouquet of spicy chili peppers.

Flavor: Contrary to my expectations, you actually can taste the wheat and its own (non-chili) peppery qualities. There is also a clear presence of yeasty bread. But on the finish, the chili peppers definitely come through with a fiery, spicy heat that burns going down. Because the peppers are roasted, there is a hint of smokiness which is delightful. I would recommend drinking this beer only when you are in the mood for chili peppers, such as one of those nights when you just crave some spicy Mexican or Thai food, because, even though there is a wheat presence in this beer, never forget that the chili peppers will be the overwhelming impression that you experience. It is hard to know if this is a good or a bad beer: it is simply a rather odd beer.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is thin, and the carbonation is moderate.

Structure: I suspect that the wheat beer underneath the chilis has a decent, broad structure, but it is difficult to discern underneath the heat.

Food Pairing: I could state the obvious and say to pair this beer with spicy foods, and of course that is one way to go that works. But the chili heat in this ale is so overwhelming, that it has been described as a palate killer, and I tend to agree. So maybe pairing it with its exact opposite would work, for example drinking it with dessert. Or then again, maybe not. This one is tough, so if you are going to drink it, the best I can do is to recommend some good, tangy, tannic cheddar cheese to offset the heat.

Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs:

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