One of the hottest beers today is not a triple IPA, or a limited edition from deep within a Belgian monastery, it’s Ghost Face Killah, brewed by Twisted Pine Brewing Company (TPBC) in Boulder, Colo. It’s dubbed the hottest beer this side of Hell, and on the Scoville scale (which measures the pungency of chili peppers), it reaches over 1 million.
Ghost Face Killah is brewed with Anaheim, Fresno, Jalapeno, Serrano, Habanero and Bhut Jolokia, known as the Ghost Pepper. With such an array of peppers added to the beer, it’s a pepper lover’s dream! It certainly provides brewers at Twisted Pine with the job of cutting and bagging the peppers, and prepping the beer for a large pepper addition—the most coveted job at TPBC. If drinking beer on this side of Hell scares you, TPBC also brews a more subtly spice option, Billy’s Chilies.
Kay Witkiewicz, brewery assistant at TPBC, is in charge of cutting peppers for the famed Billy’s Chilies and Ghost Face Killah. Twisted Pine typically brews its two pepper beers on the same day and Kay is tasked with cutting over 100 pounds of peppers. A lot of brewers glamorize adding more hops to the brew kettle, but hops have never been weaponized—unlike the Ghost Pepper. That leaves Kay in an elite class of brewers that have dealt with such a powerful beer ingredient.
In the words of Kay: “Among all the awesome jobs that go into making our beers at Twisted Pine, there is one that everyone covets. It’s the glorious, incomparable and mostly solitary act of cutting the cornucopia of chili peppers that define the flavor and aroma of Billy’s Chilies and Ghost Face Killah, the latter of which contains one of the hottest peppers on the face of the planet—the Ghost Pepper.”
Who could say no to the cloud of pepper aroma, the cutting and the constant battle of tears caused by the six varieties of peppers? Not Kay. This is the type of extreme beer brewing that makes craft beer in America so great. To the brewers that sacrifice a little extra time in the cold room cutting peppers and enduring some extra capsaicin, we raise a pint of the hottest beer this side of Hell, Ghost Face Killah!
Check out Kay’s original post, “The Most Coveted Job at Twisted Pine,” on the Twisted Pine Blog.
Andrew Kaczmarek, is the current Craft Beer Program Intern, hop farmer, beer writer for the CU Independent, homebrewer and student at the University of Colorado in his final semester. When not pursuing hoppiness, as a Colorado native, he spends his free time skiing, camping or biking in the Rocky Mountains.
Last Updated: February 28, 2013