More often than not spicy beers are a bit of a let down for me. It’s almost as though they brew the beers with the hot peppers intended to be nothing more than a selling point along the lines of, “We put in an 8th of a chile pepper, therefore we can list it on the bottle” or “all peppers! no beer!” (ala “Ghost Face Killah) as opposed to an actual flavor asset. Night Shift Viva Habanera is not one of those beers.
I think it’s pretty cool that this Everett MA based brewery is small enough and invested in their beer enough to put a writeup on each individual batch up online, and that each batch can be slightly different. According to their site, I got the spiciest. I’d believe it. The peppers were left in a day longer than they normally are. The minute I popped the cork off it was just me, my beer, and capsaicin. Seriously, this beer had to have some scovilles behind it. That’s good. That’s how we like things over here at Two Girls, One Beer, as we’re also hot sauce aficionados. We’re known to order room service on our travels simply so we can collect the mini hot-sauce bottles that come with the meals.
The beer poured a hazy dark red color, and retained a one-finger head with lacing along the glass. It looked innocuous enough, but the scent said otherwise. Foremost is the spicy pepper scent, beneath that there’s toasted malts, it reminded me of a red-ale scent wise.
I had this beer with some charred grilled chicken and veggies, and it was perfect. Spicy like a Bloody Mary, but still a beer. The taste was prickly from start to finish, with the habaneros really making themselves known in your throat. It drinks very smooth, you can taste the malts and hints of rye. It’s kind of hard to get into the facets of the taste because let’s be real there is a lot going on in this beer, and now that I know each batch is different I’m more than a little intrigued.