Just What You Didn't Know You Needed: Hot Beer!

Oh calm down, I don't mean hot in terms of serving temperature.

I mean Rogue Hot Sriracha Stout!

So as you can see, this looks more or less exactly like a sriracha bottle, rooster and all. The green bottle cap is an adorable little nod to the pointy green cap of the namesake product. Labeling on the side of this bottle says “Natural Ingredients” and “Don’t Shake!” But since it is a beer and not a food, there is no ingredient list, so I cannot comment on what form sriracha actually takes in formulating this beverage, ingredient-wise.

It is extremely interesting to me that they chose to go with a stout as a vehicle for sriracha. Stout is, after all, hardly a shy beer. It’s got so much character and flavor all on its own, all those chocolate and coffee notes, how would the sriracha compete with that? If I wanted to show off a novelty flavor, I would choose a lager or even an ale, something thinner and lighter, more of a blank canvas, so the presence of the sriracha might jump out more clearly.

As you pour the stout, you can see that it is unusually thick and dark, even for a stout. The liquid has a viscosity that is a bit thicker than Guinness, and its color is much closer to inky black than the chestnut color that stouts generally have. The pour did accumulate a small amount of head, but unlike Guinness, which usually has a white-ish foam, this was a mocha color.

The stout smelled like ordinary stout to me, with no aroma that would suggest sriracha (though this makes sense because sriracha itself doesn’t actually have much of an aroma). I had two hypotheses about the flavor: either that it would taste disappointingly like normal stout, with no discernible sriracha presence whatsoever, or that the flavor would be a painful face-smacker, hitting the drinker right in the tongue with a big stinging punch of hot spice. I thought the former was most likely because stout is so naturally assertive that it would overwhelm any attempt to flavor it, but I was sufficiently concerned about the latter possibility that I was nervous as I contemplated my tasting glass.

It turns out, both my hypotheses were wrong. The initial impact is that of stout – dark yet creamy, malty, with those faint suggestions of cocoa and coffee that good stout always has. Just a fraction of a second later, however, as I swallowed the sip, a refreshing sensation washed over my tongue, a subtle but persistent tingling that brought with it the distinct suggestion of Sriracha. There was a hint of that hot chili flavor, but somehow that suggestion of sriracha came most of all from the precise amount of the tingling sensation on the tongue.

I found this delightful, because when I thought about it, sriracha is my favorite hot sauce precisely because of its measured heat, its delivery of up-front flavor and limited after-burn, though of course, that burn does build as you continue to eat it. And the stout was no different, so for this reason we found that it was perfect paired with Lays Jalapeno Ranch chips, a limited-edition flavor which we were tasting at the same event.

#Beverages #Savory