While I didn’t make it to Naked City on Sunday for their Chaos Cookoff, friends Gibson Holub and Russell Lo were on hand. Gibson put together the following writeup, and Russ snapped the photos. Mmm…chili.
Fans of beer and/or chili were treated to a rip-roarin’ good time courtesy of Naked City Brewing at their inaugural Chaos Cookoff last Sunday. The nine different chili and beer pairings were split into three different flights, each with their own printed place mat, which was quite helpful for remembering what was on your tray once you got back to your seat. Each flight consisted of three decent-sized (3 or 4 oz) beer tastes and three small paper cups of chili that were fairly small but provided enough to get a good feel for how they paired with the beer.
The chili came in a wide range of styles, from an authentic Texas style chili (from Naked City) to a vegetarian chili that incorporated coconut flavor (from Big Time). Black Raven made sure no one was taking the event too seriously by topping their chili with a sour cream concoction dispensed from the back end of a bird perched on a pump — disturbing, but tasty. The beers also covered the gamut from an amber and an IPA to a winter warmer and a couple of imperial stouts.
There was much discussion and debate as to which pairing was the best, but when all the ballots were tallied Big Time won for best pairing with their Holy Molé chocolate/chile beer paired with that crazy vegetarian chili with coconut flavors. It might sound like a strange combination, but it worked. Best brew went to Black Raven for their La Petit Mort, which was enjoyable as always, but didn’t seem to work with their chili at all. And tastiest chili went to 7 Seas for their white chili that featured chicken, white beans and green chilies. Although none of us chose it as our personal favorite, it was definitely in the running at our table. Also worth noting was the spicy chipotle chili from Redhook which was the only chili with any real heat. The Fremont chili was also pretty damn good with little crunchy bits of bacon to go along with the succulent meat.
The logistics of an event like this can be daunting, but the staff and organizers of Naked City did an admirable job keeping things flowing. Congrats to them on the beginning of what will hopefully be a long tradition of Chaos Cookoffs! Oh, and one final note to future Chaos Cookoff contestants: Don’t be afraid to bring the heat! We can always try to wash away the burn with more beer.