Picking a Peck of Peppered Porters
A Review of Red Chili Porter by Socorro Springs Brewing Co.
Posted on 12/8/2014 by Chops
                   
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When the craft beer movement exploded in the United States, few could have predicted the unbelievable smorgasbord of styles we would enjoy today. American brewers have been throwing everything they can think of into their beers in order to set themselves apart from the competition. Some work, some don't, some are great, some are positively awful. One popular methodology is to add spices and/or peppers to brews. More often times than not, these beers come out a little lopsided and are subsequently sold as more novelty than serious. However, some breweries hit the nail on the head with a beautifully balanced combination of sweet, bitter, and spicy.

The Socorro Springs Brewing Company out of Socorro, New Mexico is one such brewery. They craft a delightful Red Chili Porter that was far and away my favorite beer of the trip. I had stopped by Socorro Springs on my way to visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's (NRAO) Very Large Array. A day of tasty craft beer and jaw-dropping astronomy? There is such a thing as too much nerd pleasure.

In the glass, the Red Chili Porter had a deep brown coloration with some reddish edging. It came with a frothy tan head that had really nice retention. I have learned that New Mexicans like to throw red and green chilies into damn near everything, so I fully expected this beer to be more of a tourist novelty. However, I found almost no chili presence on the aroma. Just a very nice roasted malty smell with a touch of campfire smoke and a mere hint of pepper. I was pleasantly surprised because restraint is a trait not often found in pepper beers.

Wow, that first sip was crazy, weird, and awesome. This beer had perhaps one of the most interesting palate trains I have ever experienced. The beer started out very smooth with a solid medium body, similar in fashion to a chocolaty stout. From there, the middle ground quickly morphed into a tangy peppery mishmash that gave the roast a punch of flavor. The beer finished with almost no malt presence and instead exited with a savory chili pepper heat that seemed to linger forever. It was very clean, never overpowering, and endlessly fascinating. I really enjoyed each and every sip. Flavor wise, there was little complexity outside of the chili peppers. Just a solid base roast with mild notes of coffee and dark chocolate.

Overall, I found Socorro Springs' Red Chili Porter to be a delicious brew with peppery punch. The brewers managed to harness the power of the red chili without destroying the base beer in the process. Again, the take-home word here is ''restraint'' and I applaud Socorro Springs for exercising it. As a result, this is a brew that I can recommend to most beer fans. It's obviously not a beer for people who shy away from spicy offerings. But for those of us with adventurous palates, the Red Chili Porter is one hell of a ride. So throw your hands up in the air and enjoy this taste bud roller coaster.

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Red Chili Porter by Socorro Springs Brewing Co.
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