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Chile Line Brewery | Como Pica Green Chile Rauchbier

Chili Line Brewery
Scott Grossman

Fall brings the tempting smells of aromatic wood smoke and roasting chiles all across New Mexico. Chile Line Brewery in Santa Fe capitalizes on this backdrop year-round with its focus on smoked and chile beers. The most emblematic of these is Como Pica, a green chile Rauchbier.

A Slice of New Mexico

Using roasted Chimayo green chiles and beechwood-smoked barley, the brew captures the essence of New Mexico’s signature flavors. Como Pica packages up complex green chile flavors and savory smoke components while maintaining a crispness that makes it feel like an alcoholic bowl of green chile.

Photo courtesy of Scott Grossman

Bring on the Heat

As you prepare to take a drink, be careful. Don’t inhale too deeply at first. The chile spices bubble up into your nose and can be a bit intense, though enticing.

The first sip brings a quick burst of pleasant heat to the front of your mouth. This combines with a slightly vegetal pepper flavor before both quickly fade. However, the heat soon reappears on the back of your tongue, making for a unique tasting experience. From here on the heat lingers.

Como Pica Balances Sweet & Spice

Adding to the complexity, Como Pica is built on a solid malt base–the sweet malty sweet flavors help balance some of the heat.

While all that is going on, the beer maintains a pleasant and consistent smoke flavor throughout the tasting experience. As it warms, the vegetal characteristics come out more, so the beer is probably best downed quickly or in small pours.

Photo courtesy of Scott Grossman

A Different Look

The only downsides to the brew are visual. It’s clearly unfiltered and has a cloudy, slightly greenish cast depending on the lighting. Additionally, toward the bottom of my glass, there was noticeable sediment. While neither of these impacts the appealing flavors, they can be somewhat distracting.

The Full New Mexico Experience

Chile Line also offers a red chile beer that is less complex and more easy-drinking for those who want to enjoy the flavors of Santa Fe in a more straightforward format. For a true New Mexico experience, blend the red and green to make a Christmas Tree, the slang term for combining red and green chile on your food.

In addition to its chile beers, Chile Line crafts a variety of smoked brews including Helles and Märzen, along with sours and traditional styles.

Featured image courtesy of Scott Grossman

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