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Belt’s Beer Garden: En Fuego!

The Bronx Brewery’s ¡Que Fuego! - a pineapple and Carolina Reaper Pepper infused lager

As summer is starting to heat up, I thought my choice in beer should too. So this week I bring you a pepper infused lager to bring a little to heat to your palate - a beer that comes to us from The Bronx Brewery.

I’ll give you one guess as to where The Bronx Brewery is from. That’s right, they’re in the heart of NYC, located in the southern part of The Bronx, just three miles north of Central Park.

Established in 2011, The Bronx Brewery strives to brew beers that celebrate the “rich and diverse creative scene” their borough is known for. And, today, I have one of those creative beers: ¡Que Fuego! - an India Pale Lager (basically a hopped up lager) brewed in collaboration with Señor Lechuga Hot Sauce.

What makes ¡Que Fuego! special is the addition of pineapple and Carolina Reaper Peppers. The beer has a higher 7.2% ABV and just 26 IBU (despite it being brewed with seven different hop varieties). Four packs of the 16-ounce cans are available April through June and sell for $18.

The beer poured a slightly cloudy golden straw color and was topped off with two fingers of fluffy white head. The foam quickly fizzled down into a thin line, leaving some decent lacing as it did so.

The aroma was surprisingly juicy with big notes of pineapple and other tropical fruits. There was no hint of the reaper peppers inside at all...which made me nervous as I might be falling into a false sense of security with this beer. As it stood though, it smelled like a juicy IPA rather than a hot and spicy lager.

My first sip started with the tropical fruit flavors - passion fruit, mango, and especially pineapple popping early on here. A slight hoppy bitterness sat at the back of my throat for a brief moment before the juicy flavors washed it away.

Then, slowly creeping forward, was the burn from the Carolina Reapers. The heat started at the tip of my tongue and worked its way back. It wasn’t an overpowering sting but, instead, it paired nicely with the early tropical flavors and added a little bit of tingle and spice to the brew.

However, while it didn’t have me sweating or running for a glass of milk, that pepper burn kept lingering...and lingering...and lingering. With each additional sip the spice seemed to last longer and, by the end of the can, it took almost five minutes for the burn to fully leave my mouth.

I really enjoyed the addition of the peppers and was happy it didn’t overpower all the other flavors. The pineapple cuts the pepper sting nicely in the beginning before the reapers slowly begin their dominance over the fruit.

It’s a perfect BBQ beer for the upcoming summer months and would pair nicely with a brat or three...too bad it’s only around through the end of the month.

If you can handle some light, lingering spice, grab a four-pack before it’s gone. Better stock up now.

And for those that really crave some heat, look for their Extreme Que Fuego - where each can contains a WHOLE damn pepper!! Apparently it’s not for the faint of heart.

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