As I mentioned in my last post, I was at Fat Jack’s in downtown Bloomington, IL for a Goose Island “mini invasion” where they had taken over 12 taps there. I met up with my friend Fred, who had just finished teaching a homebrewing class at the community college. He was in a good mood, so he bought me this round. Since he was buying I told him to pick what I should have (and I knew I could count on him to pick something pretty good). The notes at the event said, “With an aroma of roasted chestnuts and a mysteriously dark, mahogany hue, Pepe Nero is a farmhouse ale brewed with black peppercorns. His roasty sweetness melds into a lingering, earthy, black pepper finish that is ideal for pairing with grilled meats and roasted vegetables.”
Numbers: 6.0% ABV, 30 IBU’s, Malt: Pilsner, Rye, Crystal Rye, Black Malt, Hops: Pilgrim, Saaz
Appearance & Aroma: It looked pretty clear, and was a deep red, mahogany color. The head was thick, creamy, and tan. It had a roasty, bready, and caramel-like malty aroma.
Taste & Feel: It had a bit of a carbonation tingle, but was pretty smooth drinking with a medium body. There was a bit of a caramel maltiness before a Saison-like pepperiness took over. The finish was mostly peppery with a bit of caramel and bready maltiness.
Food Pairing: As the description said, this would be nice with grilled meats, and in particular a steak. Steaks are often seasoned with peppercorns, so a plain steak with this beer would go perfectly together.
Overall Impression: I wasn’t sure what to expect with all the different potential flavors going on in this – malt, pepper, farmhouse ale bugs. It was a pretty complex beer, but the pepperiness was definitely dominant. Overall, I thought it was fairly easy drinking given its complexity. If you like Saisons, you’ll likely enjoy this full-flavored beer.