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High on the chai

Rock Bottom's chocolaty-spicy dessert-like beer

Rock Bottom La Jolla's Chai Porter
Rock Bottom La Jolla's Chai Porter

Vanilla, coffee, chilies…they’ve all had their time in the sun and their time in the fermenter as en vogue beer additives. Some were pretty obvious go-withs, while others (like, say, scorpion peppers and breakfast cereal) imbibers never saw coming. One such less expected but rather tasty flavor enhancer that’s found its way into beers over the past year or so is chai.

Place

Rock Bottom Brewery

8980 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego

A blend of black tea combined with herbs and spices to give it added earthy, spicy depth, it’s been a popular beverage among the coffee-house set. Turns out, it’s damn good in beer, too. That much is proven by one of Carli Smith’s first creations as the brewmaster at Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant, Chai Porter.

When hitting Rock Bottom to interview Smith about her new role helming its onsite brewhouse, none of her original recipes were available just yet, but a single keg of the Chai Porter had just been tapped. Having only had two chai beers prior to that evening, I ordered a pint. It was delivered to the table with a creamy, tan head hovering over its jet-black body.

The scent of cinnamon wafted up, flaring my nostrils as I took my first sip. My taste buds were enveloped by a rich chocolatiness that was followed by more cinnamon and some herbal qualities like one would encounter in a chai latte.

It turns out Smith used the La Jolla brewpub’s award-winning Moonlight Porter recipe as the base for this beer. In doing so, she converted this savory dark beer into something deliciously dessert-like that I’m glad to report was rebrewed (as a full batch) and will go on tap April 21.

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Rock Bottom La Jolla's Chai Porter
Rock Bottom La Jolla's Chai Porter

Vanilla, coffee, chilies…they’ve all had their time in the sun and their time in the fermenter as en vogue beer additives. Some were pretty obvious go-withs, while others (like, say, scorpion peppers and breakfast cereal) imbibers never saw coming. One such less expected but rather tasty flavor enhancer that’s found its way into beers over the past year or so is chai.

Place

Rock Bottom Brewery

8980 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego

A blend of black tea combined with herbs and spices to give it added earthy, spicy depth, it’s been a popular beverage among the coffee-house set. Turns out, it’s damn good in beer, too. That much is proven by one of Carli Smith’s first creations as the brewmaster at Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant, Chai Porter.

When hitting Rock Bottom to interview Smith about her new role helming its onsite brewhouse, none of her original recipes were available just yet, but a single keg of the Chai Porter had just been tapped. Having only had two chai beers prior to that evening, I ordered a pint. It was delivered to the table with a creamy, tan head hovering over its jet-black body.

The scent of cinnamon wafted up, flaring my nostrils as I took my first sip. My taste buds were enveloped by a rich chocolatiness that was followed by more cinnamon and some herbal qualities like one would encounter in a chai latte.

It turns out Smith used the La Jolla brewpub’s award-winning Moonlight Porter recipe as the base for this beer. In doing so, she converted this savory dark beer into something deliciously dessert-like that I’m glad to report was rebrewed (as a full batch) and will go on tap April 21.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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