Posted by: Scott | February 8, 2010

Cave Creek Chili Beer Review

Last week, I recommended a few low-brow brews. Now I’m wrapping the beers in caution tape. My first warning applies to Bud Light Golden Wheat, which tasted like a cardboard cutout of a wheat beer. I doubt the scientists who made it used actual wheat; rather, they probably created a “wheat beer” flavor in their secret underground beverage lab. But it tastes sweet and goes down smooth, so I can understand why some might like it. Besides, compared to Original C Cave Creek Chili Beer — or, as they call it in Mexico, Cerveza del Diablo — Golden Wheat tastes like angel tears.

I wrench off the cap and reluctantly pour myself a sample. Dull yellow liquid fills the glass, and a white film fizzes to the top. Its appearance, which is merely lackluster, fails to prepare me for the smell. Imagine beer-soaked jalapeño poppers — hot peppers dipped in melted cheese then dipped again in lager beer. You could probably achieve a similar effect by snorting a line of chili powder.

But even the spicy stench fails to prepare me for the taste. When you see the bottle, you’ll notice a jalapeño floating inside. I assume they brewed an adjunct lager, then put a pepper in it — and that’s exactly what it tastes like. Here’s the flavor breakdown: weak malty sweetness up front, followed by an immediate blast of jalapeño spiciness, then something vaguely cheap and metallic on the finish. Jalapeño hotness lingers in the aftertaste. This beer is surprisingly spicy. Its flavors practically bruise your tongue.

How did this get made? It misses the mark for every demographic. Beer geeks will hate it because it wreaks havoc on your palate with unbalanced (and just plain gross) flavors, and casual drinkers will hate it because it’s one of the least refreshing beers on earth. Mere sips gave me heart burn. Days later, the thought of it still brings nausea. But I must attempt to be fair, so … if overwhelming jalapeño onslaughts are your thing, give this a try! Or you could probably use it to season a Mexican dish. I, however, will avoid even looking at this beer again, lest I vomit in my mouth.


Who cares? Don’t buy it.

Thursday: Despite this experience, I might sample a few other chili beers — just to see if there’s anything in the style that’s actually worth a damn.



  1. Although I have tried chili beer and don’t like it, beer-battered jalepeno poppers actually sound delicious.

    • Yeah they do!

      Soggy beer-soaked poppers, however … yikes. That’s more what this was like.

  2. Before you give up on chili beers try to hunt down a bomber of Rogue Chipotle Ale.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I’d definitely like to try a few other chili beers before I pass judgment on the style. And I’m always up for some new Rogue.

  3. You forgot a demographic…those who do everything as a pissing contest. This beer may score points with them.

    • Ah yes, the extreme sports crowd. Speaking of pissing contests … I’ll be attending a strong beer festival this weekend! Expect a full report on Monday.

  4. Oh the Chili beer…You summed it up best in the “Stats” section. Although, my pursuit to try each and every beer will probably have me reluctantly sipping a few ounces of this one day.

    • I understand completely, and I’d usually recommend trying it for yourself. With this beer, however, I cannot in good conscience recommend it under any circumstances.

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