Weekly Beer Geek: Nicie Spicie
- Article by Luke G
- August 2, 2012
The Beginning: What’s a man to do when he’s in a culinary sort of mood but doesn’t have the time to cook actual food? Why, have some lovingly flavored beer, of course! (Sure, I substitute beer for food sometimes. Doesn’t everyone?) Short’s has been a bit hit-or-miss with me, but they can put out some interesting flavors when they put a mind to it. Their Key Lime Pie beer comes to mind. So why not see what they can pack into a spicy summer brew?
The Brewer’s Pitch: Nicie Spicie is a wheat ale from Northern Michigan. More precisely, a 50% blend of white wheat and barley, all malted and brewed with citrus zest. The spice is coriander, a common one for Belgian Whites, and a blend of three peppercorns. Packed into a lush golden body, Nicie is complex while still being light, crisp, and refreshing. It’s also only 4.5% alcohol, so it’s a strongly flavorful beer you can actually drink without worrying about the punch it packs.
The Beer: First of all, they don’t pitch it but this beer is packed with sediment. It was visibly caked on the bottom of the bottle and some of it remained even after I gave the bottle a good shake and spin. This translates into a beer so hazy it’s nearly opaque, a muddy orange gold with a vanishing scum of foam. The nose is mostly peppery and cool with a wet splash of orange citrus. It’s much less full bodied and smooth than the haze suggests, instead carrying a light wet feel. The initial taste is a light citrus under a mild wheat taste - not sweet like many wheat beers, but still a light crispness. It’s then that the pepper comes in, tasting like both black and white peppers rolling over the tongue. That carries it through the end of the taste, but leaves a burn on the whole tongue rivaling any black pepper gravy.
The Breakdown: This is one of those beers that is interesting, but only really GOOD in certain circumstances. I can’t see drinking it just for the beer enjoyment; the pepper burn is too strong. It overtakes the citrus too early and completely swamps the coriander that is supposed to be there. However, I would grab a bottle of this in a heartbeat to have with a steak or a burger, anything peppery and meaty that would be complemented by the beery burn in this bottle. It might also be worth trying with a strongly seasoned lemon pepper chicken, to create a citrus-pepper blend for great victory.
The Bottom Line: Dammit, I’m hungry for steak now. Stupid peppery beer.