Chips aren’t usually too revolutionary of a food. We’ve had them doused in all sorts of flavorings over the years: BBQ, ranch, onion, vinegar, jalapeno, and every savory flavor in between. That’s not to say that chips are boring, but there really aren’t any surprises when it comes to eating a fried slice of potato.
Or so we thought, until we stumbled upon beer chips earlier this month at The Pie Hole here in Los Angeles.
Jaws dropped, heads were scratched, and several bags were bought. Beer-flavored kettle chips, we’ve come to discover, have just kicked up the realm of potato chips a few notches.
The chips come to us from Sprecher Brewing Co., a Milwaukee-based brewery founded by Randal Sprecher, formerly a brewing supervisor at Pabst Brewing Co. The company’s been around since the mid ‘80s, and its beers have actually won an impressive number of awards from both national and international beer competitions (Sprecher beers took home 11 medals from the 2006 L.A. Country Fair alone).
Chips aren’t the only foodstuff Sprecher creates—it also has its own label of BBQ sauces and beer mustards, all of which use beers or root beers produced at Sprecher.
But enough about the facts. Let’s get down to the chips.
Flavored with dried honey and dried beer, they have a delightful zing that’s just slightly sweet and vinegary—think salt and vinegar chips, but not nearly as pungent. The dried beer comes from the brewery’s own Special Amber beer, which really seems a great choice. It’s got a bit more of a robust flavor than other beers but manages to keep a sweet mildness about the flavor, without imparting too much hoppy bitterness. And the chips are kettle-cooked, so they’ve got great crunch.
While you may think that beer-on-beer is overkill, these chips are superb munched on alongside your favorite beer. There are no pairing rules for this one—enjoy with an IPA, ale, barleywine, whatever bubbly brew is your go-to.