Clayton’s Corner ~ Sex Panther

As of this week, Sex Panther, our latest seasonal offering, has hit the taps. While we had a beer of the same name on tap last year, that was a Barleywine, while this year the Panther has emerged as a Double Chocolate Porter. Porters are dark, sweet beers with predominant coffee and chocolate flavors in most standard versions. We decided to add to the chocolate flavors already present in the malt by adding cocoa to the beer. I will not say if we also added bits of real panther.

The result is a beer is with a very “full” mouthfeel and pleasantly sweet finish, reminiscent of a cup of hot chocolate. While the beer is certainly more sweet than it is bitter, that does not mean it lacks balance; we added enough Summit hops along with some Roasted Malt to make sure that we haven’t created a liquid dessert (although perhaps that’s what some people were looking for). Expect a roasted undertone to come through while drinking the beer. Compare it to our Gordo Stout, which is also a dark beer, made with similar ingredients, but has a drier finish and more bitter, coffee-like flavors up front, with sweet undertones to balance.

Yesterday, we released a cask of Sex Panther with Ancho chiles added to the cask. Anchos have a mild heat, with pronounced raisin and chocolate flavors. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking of complementary food flavors to go with the Sex Panther — think of what you might have alongside a chocolate dessert. Tart fruits like raspberry, mild and fruity chiles, or some almonds would all probably be good flavors to bring to the party.

Every week, the SanTan restaurant staff is required to answer a question which has something to do with beer. It can be about our beer, craft beer in general, or perhaps a beer and food pairing. We want to make sure that our passion for our product is apparent right when you walk in the front door, and that this passion is backed up by knowledge of what we do. Below is the winning response to this week’s question. The winning staff member receives a complimentary growler of SanTan for exhibiting their passion for beer. Be sure to stop by the brewpub and congratulate this week’s winner.

The winner this week is Tim, one of our servers. We asked him to choose one of our regular beers and pair it with a menu item, preferably one of the items that has been added for 2012. Here is his response:

I would pair the Texican with our Epicenter American Amber Ale. There are a couple different flavor profiles to address with the Texican. First you’ve got the spiciness coming from the pickled jalepenos. When most people eat spicy food they default straight to an IPA or another beer with a considerably hoppy character. The flavor in those beers may stand up better considering spicy food can kill the palate, but if you’re talking about pairing the beer then you’re going to want something that works with the spiciness not just something that stands up to it. In addition, I have found that some hoppier beers even amplify the spice and send me looking for a glass of milk or just coating my mouth with those scoops of guacamole and sour cream. I would prefer a beer like Epicenter because the mildly sweet malty backbone cools my palate and allows me to continue enjoying all the flavors in the Texican. The next flavors you have to consider are the sweet and smoky flavors coming from the smoked beef brisket and the chipotle maple bbq sauce. (Sorry I just drooled a bit) The maltiness of the beer doesn’t just pair well it supplements these flavors and allows you to notice the subtle nuances like the cherry wood (or pecan wood) used to smoke the meat and the rich maple flavor in the bbq. The point being, Epicenter is a beer you enjoy alongside the Texican, not one that will mask its heat and robust flavors.

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