The Beer: Hatch Chile Gatos
The Brewery: Fate Brewing Company, Scottsdale, AZ
The Stats: 4.5% ABV; 23 IBU
The Style: Cream ales are easy-drinking, very refreshing, low-alcohol beers typically consumed in quantity during the warm season. They are considered to be "hybrid" beers, meaning they have characteristics of both ales and lagers. Typically fermented with an ale yeast and lagered (aged) for character, cream ales drink exceptionally clean. The style itself is meant to represent the ale version of an American lager.
Hatch Chile Gatos is a very interesting Southwestern take on a traditional cream ale. Fate's traditional cream ale, Oh My Gatos! Golden Ale, was brewed with the addition of roasted Hatch chiles, which provides huge chile aroma and flavor with very little, if any, heat. The presence of the chiles contributes an additional level of clean, crisp, refreshing character over and above what the base beer already provides. Hatch chiles are typically sourced from areas in and around Hatch, New Mexico, so this is a true Southwestern approach to creating a beer for local consumers sourced with locally produced ingredients.
Aroma and Flavor: Clean, green pepper aroma leads and is even more pronounced in the flavor, but clean is the key word here. No perceptible heat is apparent either in the aroma, during the taste, or in the aftertaste, which adds to the drinkability of this beer. The cream ale behind the peppers is light and approachable, but without the peppers would lack depth and complexity. The peppers give a tremendous amount of character to the otherwise light, simple base beer.
The subdued malt character provides a white bread-like quality. The beer is well attenuated and finishes crisp, encouraging the drinker to immediately crave another sip. Hop bitterness is moderate, which helps provide the dry finish while there is no real perceptible hop flavor.
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Overall: In a nutshell, Fate Brewing found a way to use the pepper as a flavor showcase, highlighting the delicious, approachable flavor of the chile without introducing a heat component. This beer can be enjoyed by light lager drinkers and craft connoisseurs alike. This is a fantastic summer beer.
Food Pairings: Going to Fate Brewing for lunch or dinner? Try the Still Jalapeno Biznaz pizza with your Hatch Chile Gatos, which comes with olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella, bacon, fresh jalapeno, and a cracked egg. Hatch Chile Gatos can also be paired with one of the many salads on Fate's menu.
Fate Brewing Company is a small-batch brewpub. Owner Steve McFate built the first Fate Brewing Company in Scottsdale on Shea Boulevard, and a second Fate Brewing Company is located on the south side of Scottsdale at 1312 North Scottsdale Road. Call 480-656-9100 for more information or check out the Fate Brewing Company website for more information.