About the Brewery (from adroit-theory.com):
Adroit Theory Brewing Company is a nano brewery specializing in esoteric brews, coming to Purcellville in Loudoun County Virginia in 2013. Join the ATBC Army and help our mission of CRAFTING THE REVOLUTION.
About the Beer (from the label):
Gacy. Manson. Dahmer. Inspiration for our Smoked Porter aged on Serrano Peppers. The peppers add a touch of fire; the smoked malt a touch of brimstone. Were they victims of their environment? Or did the Devil make them?
Style: Smoked Porter aged on Serrano Peppers
After my last set of reviews for ATBC, I was excited to see what they would send me next. What I got in the mail made me a bit uneasy: THE DEVIL MADE ME is a porter (a style I sometimes like, sometimes don’t) made with smoked malt (not something I usually like) and aged on Serrano peppers (and I generally hate chile beers). While I do my best not to judge something before I try it, TDMM had a lot going against it in my mind before I ever dug in.
The cork came out easily, and with a pleasing pop, allowing a deep brown nearly opaque elixir to escape. TDMM has a nice opaqueness to it, and is topped with a very vigorous, frothy head that last quite a while, and leaves heavy evidence behind on the glass. Inhaling the redolence from the glass, it smells like a campfire, bottled. There is heavy, roasty, smokiness right up front, and then that hint of the heat that is hidden within just behind it. It’s an intriguing scent, and not something I expect to get when taking a whiff of a beer; I’m finding this is a pattern with ATBC: I’m often getting things I don’t expect from beer with them!
Sampling the first sip, I expect to be hit in the face with the smoke, but it is much more restrained than the aroma led me to believe. There is certainly some smoke there, but it is mild and quite pleasant, which not something I often say about a smoked beer (or maybe my palate is just changing, because I found myself saying the same thing about Ranger Creek’s SMALL BATCH #5). The smoke is followed by the peppers, which again I was afraid that I would be assaulted by. There’s only ever been one pepper beer that I have tried that I actually enjoyed (Jester King and Mikkeller’s collaborations WEASEL RODEO / WHISKEY BARREL RODEO), all of the other ones I’ve tried have all been horribly hot. Heat for the sake of heat, with no addition to the flavor of the beer. I am very happy to say that TDMM also is restrained in its use of the peppers, and is actually a chile beer I can enjoy… and could even drink two of them (if ATBC had sent me two)! It really amazes me that TDMM has two elements that I generally do not care for, and balances both in a way that makes they quite enjoyable for me, and on top of that does so in a style that I generally am not a huge fan of. I’m really amazed at the skill on display at ATBC. Their moniker is well deserved (Adroit: very able or skilled).
The choice of a porter to carry these elements is somewhat of a surprise for me, and somewhat not. I have found that the chile beers that I dislike less are based on darker styles, and the rauchbiers I dislike less are also based on darker styles, but I would expect something heavier like a doppelbock or a stout. A porter looks heavy, but really is a much lighter beer than it appears, and TDMM is no exception to this. The body on it is thin to medium, with very light and zesty carbonation that persists for quite a long time and leaves heavy lacing on the glass. This lighter body actually carries the heat much better than I would have guessed, and I think the more ample carbonation actually helps to keep the smoke and heat from becoming overwhelming on the palate. TDMM is by far the most drinkable pepper beer I’ve ever had, and one of the more drinkable smoked beers I’ve had. Kudos to ATBC for bringing two elements I’m not excited about together in a style that doesn’t really do anything for me, and combining those things into a beer I really enjoyed and would love to have again.
Overall 7.5 / 10