I have to confess to emitting an audible groan when I opened the e-mail from Bite HQ. Mexico is a pretty uninspiring place for beer and I’ve already penned a 300 word invective in these pages about the pisswater that is Mexican lager. So I hope the editor will forgive me for looking further afield for this column.
Much further afield; in fact all the way back home to Europe to look at yet another product of the Danish gypsy brewery, alchemist & dream factory that is Mikkeller.
We’re not too far removed from this issues theme though, because the beer in question is a showcase for the smoked spicy delights of the chipotle chilli.
The Texas Ranger stands out from Mikkellers vast range of beer in several notable ways. For one it seems to be brewed all year round, making it much easier to get your hands on a bottle, it’s also reasonably priced when compared with many of their more niche products (still not cheap though, we’re talking £3-£4 rather than £13-£14). Like many of their beers it doesn’t fit easily into a category, but I would call it a smoked porter.
It pours a pretty viscous, dark brown with little effervescence and a minimal tan head. So it’s not much to look at, the nose is explosive though. I don’t want to get all Jilly Goolden on you, but it is packed with quince, prune, liquorice, boot polish, ginger, pepper, pine, orange and coffee bean. The mid palate is nicely rounded with a mellow, roasty toasty malt character with the aromatics dialled down a notch or two. The chipotle doesn’t make much of an appearance until the finish, where it adds a definite green, piquant bite of pepper. It’s subtle at first but once you’re about half way through the bottle it starts to dominate the palate: Especially if you’re drinking it with your dinner. It has a mid-range wallop of 6.6% abv, but punches well above its weight in terms of character
I am yet to try it with any Mexican food, but it worked wonders with the first barbecue of 2015, where it helped lubricate my only slightly burnt burgers.