Spicy chili, ginger and lime in a wit beer.


The description of this beer from Ballast Point Brewery highlighted a key word that initially turned me off……wit.  Early on, as I tried different styles of beers, I recognized that I had an extreme dislike for wheat beers.  The mere mention of wit or weiss usually prompts a reflex response of….well…ick.  So how did this wit beer make it on my most memorable beer list?  Let me explain……

The first sip of my second most memorable beer occurred one hot July afternoon at the Valhalla Bar in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.  Mark and I were sitting at the bar (this is one of our tenets) and talking beer with the bartender.  He had recognized that we were interested in trying unique beers and provided us a sample of Thai Chili Wahoo.  As I always do, I breathed in the aroma of the beer but this time I stopped.

I continued to breathe in and connected to the essence of everything I love in Thai food; spicy chilis, lime and lemongrass.  Then I had my first taste.  Unlike any beer that I have ever had, Thai Chili Wahoo transferred every incredible aroma onto my tastebuds and allowed them to linger long after the first sip.

Now I am a spice lover, so the lingering burn that flowed down my throat was not unwelcome.  Rather, it allowed me to enjoy the beer even more, as I rotated between slowly breathing in the fragrant scent and savouring the flavours.   For this beer I suspended my hatred of wheat beers and so, my first experience enjoying this incredible beer was born.

Fast forward one year later and Mark and I were planning an upcoming visit to San Diego, California.  I had been thinking about my most memorable beers and Googled, Thai Chili Wahoo.  Much to my delight I found that it was brewed in San Diego and the brewery was close to where we would be staying!

During our first night in San Diego we arrived at the Ballast brewing tasting room with a single goal….. (Well, I had a single goal. Mark’s goal was to try the numerous unique beers that he had never tried)….experience the taste of this memorable beer on tap again.

All too often, trying to recreate a first experience is disappointing at best.  Subtle aspects of any experience influence perception; location, mood, company and emotions all impact a moment in time.  Perhaps this memorable beer was better left in a fun bar in Hell’s Kitchen.

IMG_20160713_194907313The Ballast server was kind enough to listen to me prattle on about my excitement about trying Thai Chili Wahoo and poured me a pint in a tulip glass.  After a few beer-selfies, I brought the beer to my nose and breathed in deeply.  Yes!  This was the exact smell I remembered.  First piece of memory…check!  I took my first sip and the perfect balance of Thai flavour, mixed with the refreshing taste of my only beloved wit, washed across my palate.  Second piece of memory…check!  Then I waited.  Ahhh….yes….the beautiful burn ran down my throat.  Final piece of memory…..check, check and double check!

Sometimes, our first experiences can be relived!  I can’t wait to have another experience in the near future……since I brought a bottle back to enjoy again 😉