With temperatures still near/dipping into negative numbers in much of the Midwest, I figured we could all use a warm up. And this spicy ale from Lil Beaver Brewing is the perfect way to do that.
Lil Beaver Brewery is right in the middle of Illinois in the city of Bloomington, Illinois, which is also home to Illinois State University.
Lil Beaver has been open since 2017 and is currently only distributing in Illinois - mostly in Chicagoland but you can also find them in Peoria, Champaign, and Springfield, as well as some other spots in western Illinois.
They are best known for their Wainbows series of hazy IPAs and, while they focus on hazies, they also love making sours, stouts, and fruit beers that are big on flavor. And, in order to amplify those big flavors, they love using additives in their brews.
Today’s beer - Ring of Fire - is a perfect example of their use of additives.
Ring of Fire is a spicy ale brewed with heaps of cinnamon and hot peppers. It clocks in at a solid 7% ABV and a four-pack will set you back $15 (or $4 for a single can). The beer was released on January 19th and this review was written on January 26th.
The beer poured a mostly opaque murky brown color that turns the color of iced tea when held to the light. Topping off the beer is less than half a finger of tan head that quickly fizzles down to a few clouds in the middle and some light accumulation in a ring around the glass.
Immediately after it was poured, the strong aroma of cinnamon hit my nose. It was like a liquid version of a Hot Tamale candy - loads of spice with a little cooling sweetness. There was no hop backing or malty scent...it was ALL CINNAMON and it smelled delicious (especially if you like those kinds of candy).
Right off the bat, my first sip began with a pop of spicy peppers. It hit the back of my throat with moderate sting that settled down there and sat for a few moments. The cinnamon slowly crawled forward out from the heat, quelling some of the pepper burn.
There was a bit of caramel and toffee sweetness that appeared midway through - the grist refusing to be forgotten about. It really balanced off the beer and cut into the remaining heat.
However, the pepper burn would continue on for a few moments after everything else had disappeared. It wasn’t overly spicy or hot, just a low lingering burn. Honestly though, if you don’t like/can’t handle spicy foods, you probably won’t enjoy this brew.
But if you like cinnamon candies and some heat, this is the brew for you. It’s the perfect beer for Taco Tuesday or escaping the frigid cold we’ve got going on right now. Light and spicy with some lingering heat...it’ll get your sinuses going for sure!