New beer brewed with Mace ingredients probably tastes okay, actually

Photo: Dogfish Head
Photo: Dogfish Head

Delaware-based Dogfish Head brewery is synonymous with off-the-wall beers. Founder Sam Calagione is one of the godfathers of craft beer, a reputation he’s built by brewing with weird ingredients including meteorite dust, rose water, and black garlic. But his latest concoction—In Your Mace Coffee Milk Stout—isn’t as strange as it sounds.

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It’s brewed with cinnamon verum chips, mace (a spice derived from nutmeg, not to be confused with pepper spray), milk sugars, coffee, chicory, and the same chili oil that’s the main ingredient in Mace Brand pepper spray.

“Any day we get to brew a beer wearing full body suits, face masks and respirators is a memorable day in the brewhouse,” Calagione said in a release.

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While that’s no doubt extreme, the beer itself might actually be pretty tasty. In the craft beer world, the combo of chilis and coffee in a stout is a familiar one. Stone’s Xocoveza combines those ingredients with additional spices like cinnamon and vanilla bean to great results; New Belgium had a cult favorite on its hands with the Lips of Faith series’ Cocao Molé stout, brewed with ancho, chipotle and guajillo peppers, Vietnamese cinnamon, and cocoa powder.

The success of these beers is in the way they replicate the earthy-spicy appeal of Mexican hot chocolate or molé sauce: a bit of earthy chocolate flavor from the stout and coffee; some light heat from the chilis; a bit of depth from other spices like cinnamon and vanilla. Yeah, the Mace part of Dogfish’s concoction is designed to shock, but it’s really just a chili oil addition that probably plays well with the milk stout and coffee.

Want to try it? In Your Mace will be available at Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Festival in Boston this weekend, as well as on draft at Dogfish Head’s Milton, Delaware brewpub. The brewery will also release 200 bottles of it on February 12 beginning at 11 a.m. I’d actually suggest this as a Valentine’s Day beverage if its name wasn’t so, uh, aggressive.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

As a person who loves spicy foods, I’m always disappointed with peppers in beer. It nearly always feels out of place. The bite/heat from the pepper comes on at the wrong time and at the wrong place. Cayenne seems to hit the back of my throat, so beers that add it as a way to bring heat, end up with a finish that has a pinch at the back of your throat. On the other hand, some of the successful beer/pepper brews I’ve tried seem to accentuate other aspects of the pepper besides the heat. Especially with beers that use the green/grassy notes of jalapenos, thai chiles, or other similar peppers.