Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank has always been on the cutting edge with their vegan sausages and exclusively Californian craft beers. When Pliny the Younger gets to town, there is a line around the block. If you hang out long enough, you may spot some of the regulars spiking their beers with hot sauce using tiny eyedroppers.
In the past, there have been some beers brewed with a hot pepper, but local entrepreneur Hot “Sauce” Rod found them “quite lacking,” and began to come up with hot sauces specifically created to pair with beer. Rod’s Balsamic Reduction Hot Sauce was created with desserts and beers in mind. Rod explains the process, “…the chillies go through a long, about a week to ten day, steep in white balsamic vinegar in a solar cooker then a 12 hr slow smoke and another steep before the blender and mixing.” The formula was so successful, Golden Road Brewing, Tony’s Darts Away Anniversary IPA, and Heal the Bay IPA have all incorporated the sauce into a few special casks. When Alexandra Nowell, now with Three Weavers Brewing, was at Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster, they created a brew with the Serrano Habanero and Key Lime.
We spoke with Rod about his favorite pairings. “The Prickly Pear Habanero Hot Sauce is my latest formulation and adds a nice fruity heat to an otherwise aggressive IPA and has become my recent favorite. The Red Fire Hot Sauce is also good in an IPA, but this season was not good for ghost peppers and I am about out of that and the others with those peppers. New habanero alternatives are being formulated, e.g. The Prickly Pear Habanero Hot Sauce, Habanero and POM (pomegranate) Hot Sauce, and Habanero and Ginger Hot Sauce.”
You can find Rodz Hot Sauce at Tony’s Darts away or online. It will also be featured at Aunt Sally’s Marketplace at Golden Road Brewery during their special Christmas sale Saturday November 29th. Make sure to add the hot sauce to the glass before filling it with beer to get a thorough mix. Squeeze a lime into the glass for a riff on a michelada. If you prefer, you can add the hot sauce afterwards and stir it in if you want to test the heat. Hot sauce that has to be applied with an eye dropper is nothing to play with.
Thanks to David Sampson for patiently spiking his beer so I could take this photograph.