Spice Trade and Counter Culture Brewery Collaborate on Nashville’s Hot Chicken Beer

0

Jeff Tyler is anticipating a bit of skepticism when he releases his last beer this weekend. And rightly so, “Because anyone who brews a beer that tastes like hot Nashville chicken should” face some burning questions, says the owner of spice brewery in the village of Greenwood.

But Tyler, brewer Andrew Moore and their collaborative partners at Culture Brasserie Counter + Grid did not enter the process lightly. They didn’t do it for the headlines either (aside from the one above).

“We didn’t want to just stick the words ‘Nashville hot chicken’ on the beer and on the label just for the fun of it,” says Tyler. “As a brewer, it’s a fun challenge to make something that’s both salty and drinkable. We don’t want him to taste like he’s drinking a cup of chicken noodle soup. We want each of the flavors to come out and be recognizable to people.”

So, for starters, there were no real chickens used to make Nashville Hot Chicken Beer.

Instead, the brewers reached out to the respective chefs at each of their restaurants for advice and ended up with chicken demi-glace, a concentrated form of chicken broth.

Click to enlarge

Counter Culture Brewery is no stranger to fried chicken.

Culture Brasserie Counter + Grid

From there, they built the “sandwich,” choosing biscuit malts for the “bread” and red malts to give the beer the same “angry mahogany color” as real hot chicken, Tyler says.

Then they came up with a spice mix of mustard seeds, celery seeds, paprika, black pepper, white pepper, and Korean gochugaru pepper. However, they omitted a few traditional Nashville hot chicken spices, like cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin and dill, so as not to “confuse the flavors,” Tyler adds.

“It’s easy to throw stuff in a tank, but it’s hard to have perfect balance. We did a few test batches, like chefs making broth – adding a little more of this or a little less of that. … Getting it right takes a lot of work,” Tyler adds.

From there, they upped the heat level — although Tyler says it’s “accessible heat” — with grilled guajillo and arbol peppers, more gochugaru, and a few red pepper flakes. (The brewery is very familiar with pepper beers: one of its flagships is a jalapeno pilsner, and last year for Cinco de Mayo it made four different pepper beers that you could enjoy side-by-side.)

The goal was to mimic the “dangerously slow” fire the sandwiches have – and Tyler points out that he’s tried just about every joint in Denver specializing in fiery cooking, from Chicken Rebel and the now-closed Budlong to Dave’s. Hot Chicken, Lou’s Hot & Naked, Birdcall, and Music City Hot Chicken within TRVE Brewing (TRVE’s black metal music pain pairs well with Nashville’s spice pain, Tyler points out.)

Finally, they used Sorachi Ace hops, known for their dill and lemon notes.

Click to enlarge Spice Trade made four different pepper beers last year.  - BREWING SPICES

Spice Trade made four different pepper beers last year.

spice brewery

“You can drink a pint of it without getting blown out of water. It’s heat you can handle,” Tyler says. “And it went really well, better than we could have expected. . Hopefully people are excited and ready to try. … We make it for them.

“Running a brewery that serves its own food, like Spice Trade and Counter Culture, is very different from running a brewery that focuses solely on beer,” he continues. For starters, “craft breweries don’t typically get much appreciation overall in the mainstream beer market. But beer is food, and when it comes to spices and other ingredients, the combinations are endless” – and the kitchen pantry is at your fingertips.

“Beer should be fun,” he says. “We know there will be … different reactions [to it]. But we’re trying to change perceptions about what beer can be and what it should be.

Spice Trade and Counter Culture will host chicken sandwiches this weekend to celebrate beer, which will be mined at collaboration party Saturday, April 2 at the Fillmore Auditorium and at both breweries, where Tyler recommends pairing it with Spice Trade’s chili cheese dish. The beer will also be canned for extremely limited distribution to a few local liquor stores.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.