Horseheads Brewing | Hot-Jala-Heim
Guys, last week’s cold snap really freaked me out. I love cold weather, but I need to be eased into it. I can’t just go 0-60 (or rather, 60 degrees to 20 degrees) without any stages in between. When I went to the beer shop, body freezing and teeth chattering, I had every intention of buying some winter seasonal and writing about cinnamon, nutmeg, and other holiday spices. Then I saw this sign and knew that the Universe, in the form of Top Hops taps, had a much spicier plans for me.
Horseheads Brewing Company is named after the town of Horseheads, NY. The town itself is named after….well it’s creepy. I’m sorry, there’s no way around it. In 1779 the area became the final resting place of the pack horses used by (the successful) American Revolutionaries in the Western front against the combined British and Native American Nations army. The remaining natives then used the bleached skulls to line the trail as a warning to settlers. Instead of finding this threatening, they apparently thought the décor was homey and set up camp. The town changed names multiple times in the 1800s due to some people really liking the town’s ties to the Revolution while other people weren’t keen on living somewhere named after horse skulls. Horseheads Brewing Company, proud history buffs they are, generally use their brews to help spread knowledge of the local color while racking up medals for best New York brewery at TAP New York craft beer and fine food festival.
Hot-Jala-Heim (the self-titled “Beer with a Bite”) pours a nice copper and its head dissipates rather quickly, but does not leave the beer worse for wear. Categorized as a “fruit/vegetable beer”, The aroma is fresh in a way I’ve not experienced before. It smells like cooking preparations. Green peppers and onions that have just been cut, with a slight touch of the spiciness that’s soon to come.
As the name would suggest, Hot-Jala-Heim is made with Anaheim peppers and Jalapenos, which for non-pepper fanatics have a low to mid-level Scoville rating for heat. Continuing to defy the regular expectations of a fruit/veggie beer (the large, colorful head and almost unrealistic color) Hot-Jala-Heim is a rather light beer, it’s continuing notes of fresh peppers giving you a nice coating in the mouth before reaching your throat. Going down, the beer is all heat, accompanied by the heat and tingle your lips should be experiencing. This is not a sugary fluttering kiss like sweeter stouts and lambics but an intense, perhaps-stupid-but-screw-it make out session. The heat travels down to your sternum and burns there, radiating warmth throughout your chest like Vaporub without the smell.
This beer needs to immediately be shipped out to every bar north of the Mason Dixon as well as every ski resort in the nation. It’s about to get very, very cold outside and braving the upcoming months of winter wonder/wasteland is much easier when your have a bit of burn in your chest and some fire on your lips.