Snohomish brewer flavors beer with chilies from mom’s back yard

Beer of the Week: Smoked rye forms sturdy foundation for SnoTown’s well-balanced Loose Rooster.

Loose Rooster smoked rye beer (SnoTown Brewery)

Loose Rooster smoked rye beer (SnoTown Brewery)

Loose Rooster

SnoTown Brewing, Snohomish

Style: Smoked rye beer with wild chilies

Stats: 7.1-percent ABV

Available: On tap at the brewery

My thoughts: SnoTown Brewing owner and head brewer Frank Sandoval says the wild chilies grow in his mom’s back yard in Tucson, Arizona, and they’re so good that his stepdad crumbles them on nearly everything he eats. They look like little red pellets and smell like supercharged Sriracha.

Being a brewer, it was obvious what Sandoval had to do when his mom brought him a bag full of the chilies: Make a beer with it. He tried different variations, using them in an amber and IPA, but settled on a smoked rye beer.

Having tasted the results, that decision was a good one. The smoked rye base beer lays a sturdy foundation for the spicy finish; the heat causing a slight twinge on the back of the tongue. It’s a well-balanced beer that doesn’t overwhelm the palate, leaving the drinker wanting more. It’s my favorite beer that Sandoval makes, and I’m not alone.

“We have people who come in, ask if it’s on tap and will walk out if it’s not,” said Sandoval.

The name comes from Sandoval’s son, who quipped that there was a “loose rooster” when he saw a rooster scoot in front of the family car during a recent visit to Carleton Farms.

“I was like, ‘That would make a great name for a beer!’ ” Sandoval said, laughing.

SnoTown is releasing two new beers this weekend: a Nocino brown ale made with walnuts that were used to make Skip Rock Distilery’s Nocino Liqueur, and a pumpkin spice ale, which Sandoval releases annually.

From the brewery: Smoked rye is the base beer, then we add wild chili peppers grown in the foothills of Tuscon, Arizona.

More new releases:

Bellfounder, Crucible/Belltown collaboration: Everett’s Crucible Brewing collaborated with Seattle’s Belltown Brewing to brew up this pumpkin porter. It’s made with pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.

Glow Inc. IPA/Big House Stout/The Saga Continuous IPA, Skookum Brewery: Glow Inc. is an IPA brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, Denali and Equinox hops; Big House Stout is a non-barrel aged version of the brewery’s Solitary Confinement Stout and is on nitro; The Saga is a spelt and oat IPA brewed with Eureka and Denali hops from Yakima’s Hopsteiner Farm.

— Aaron Swaney, Special to The Herald

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