Quest Brewing Company held a one-night only event to try four pepper-infused, barrel-aged versions of their Kaldi Imperial Coffee Stout, my favorite Quest brew.
The cast of taste-bud tormentors, from mildest on the left to hottest on the right:
1. Poblano (are there really peppers in this?)
2. Habanero (seriously, they called this a challenge?)
3. Aji Dulce (I’M SO SORRY I DOUBTED YOU)
4. Cask Chipotle (does my insurance cover uvula replacement?)
The first two tasted very similar and had next-to-no heat; I felt like the “medium” level was skipped. While it was fun to try these peppered brews, you won’t find me ordering them by the pint.
I immediately ordered the Nitro Milk Stout, which slowly quenched the burn, and watched my imbibing neighbors turn the taproom into a dance floor.
When the music died, I snagged owner and brewmaster Don Richardson and asked him about his new Milk Stout. Made with roasted barley and chocolate, this super creamy stout’s smooth body is thanks to the combination of lactose and nitro. The beer had a gorgeous color and thick head, yet the flavor was light, sweet and slightly earthy. And this brew weighs in at 5%, putting it on the lower end for milk stouts. If you have a friend who refuses dark beers because she expects it to be heavy or bitter, then order a taste of this one and make her a stout convert.