Hoppy Gonzales from Shenanigans Brewing was originally released for Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015. It’s an American style amber ale, liberally dosed with jalapeños.
The beer made a return as the 2017 Autumn release in Shenanigans’ seasonal range.
For those who tried it in 2015 but we’re scared off by the heat, this batch is a bit lighter on the chilli bite. What it is though, is everything that’s good about chilli beers. It has all of the complex, tantalising flavour without the burn.
The overriding sensation is one of big, juicy, green jalapeño flesh. It’s as if you’re munching into a fresh jalapeño that’s been stripped of its seeds.
It has all the fragrant capsicum qualities of the chilli but harmonises delightfully with the base beer.
Almost surprisingly, it’s a quaffable beer but the quantity you’ll want to consume will be entirely down to personal taste.
It’s not a beer that’ll be for everyone but I’d encourage people to try it before jumping to conclusions.
A Beer With Chilli, Not A Chilli Beer
Underneath the chilli there’s a hoppy American amber ale. In fact, the combination of earthy and fruity hops works well with the fresh pepper flavours of the jalapeño.
For what it’s worth, I think the amber base comes through more in the bottle version of this beer than from a keg. If you’re unsure about trying it, maybe pick up a bottle to share before you decide to sink a schooner at a pub.
The amber ale base is most evident in the appearance. It’s a beautiful deep hue bordering on ruby red. Sitting underneath a cream-coloured frothy head, the liquid looks gorgeous in the glass.
Jalapeños are added throughout the production of Hoppy Gonzales, from the mash to the end of the boil and then in fermentation. I don’t know what you call dry-hopping with jalapeños but the Shenanigans boys have done it.
The heat on the finish isn’t as intense as it has been previously, instead it culminates in a dry finish typical of the base beer but with the fragrance of jalapeños circulating your nose and mouth. It’s truly a unique and complex beer.
Perfectly Matched With Tacos
You can’t look much further than soft tacos as a food pairing. What you fill them with is up to you but fried fish, carne asada or even marinated chicken would all work.
Just apply condiments generously and add extra jalapeños to taste.
From: Inner West Sydney, NSW
Beer style: Chilli beer / American Amber Ale
Malt: Pale Ale, Vienna, Wheat, CaraMunich, Carafa Special
Hops: Columbus, Mosaic
Pair with: Soft tacos with all of the condiments.
Have you tried Shenanigans Hoppy Gonzales? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the beer.