I’m not a big chipotle pepper fan, nor am I gaga for most smoky beverages and foods (except for the occasional cheddar). But, Robin Shepard gave high praise to Benji’s Smoked Imperial Porter Brewed with Chipotle Pepper from Tyranena Brewing when he reviewed it recently for Isthmus. He gave it “four bottle-openers” (out of four), saying that
It has a hint of spice and warmth, yet the focus stays on the malt…. It’s not excessively roasted or burnt; rather, that light smokiness from the Weyermann specialty malt blends very well with the touch of the chipotle that only comes out late in the finish. Don’t let the “chipotle” in the name scare you away.
With this in mind, I dove right in when I recently spotted it on the chalkboard menu ($5.50 for a 14-ounce pour) at The Mason Lounge, a marvelous Madison bar on Park Street that has great beer and whisk(e)y offerings, a comfy vibe, and friendly staff. This beer is delicious, just fantastic in my book. As Shepard notes, the smoke and chipotle are subtle and not overpowering; I barely detected heat from the peppers, which was perfectly OK in my book.
I loved this beer so much that I aborted my penny-pinching “I’ll just have one” plan and happily had another at The Mason. I then proceeded to pick up a four-pack at Woodman’s ($8.99) the next day.