I had my first foray in the the world of beers from my local brewery, The Cronx, a couple of months back and I was, to be honest, not blown away as you can see from my review of their Oreo Cookie Stout – a beer which wasn’t bad by any means but didn’t live up to my expectations. But being that The Cronx (Croydon to non-Croydonites) has been my home for the majority of my life, I owed them another shot and picked up their Chilli Porter, because I’m a sucker for anything with Chilli in it.
The Cronx Chilli Porter looks like your typical porter – it’s very dark, to the point of being black, but it’s a very thin beer – it’s not like a stout which ends up looking – and tasting – quite thick. The aroma, too, is pretty standard porter – it’s got the hit of molasses, treacle and a bit of dark brown sugary sweetness. So far, nothing straying from the norm.
However, with any beer, the proof is in the tasting and, at first, I didn’t actually enjoy my first couple of sips. I’m not sure what it was, but there was an earthy taste which kind of put me off and I really couldn’t put my finger on what it was. It could have been that maybe my palette wasn’t cleansed enough as I had been drinking a lager beforehand, but I gave the beer the benefit of the doubt and I persevered.
I’m glad I did because this is a beer which improves with every sip you take – a rare quality – and after the first couple of mouthfuls I started to get the treacle taste you’d associate with a porter, and then a slightly sweet brown sugar taste, but then once that passes you get the real hit of chilli and the heat to go with it, which isn’t just a passing heat, but stays with you a good while afterwards! I was surprised how much heat it can pack in – it’s not an unbearable heat by any means, but it’s more heat than I’ve had from other chilli porters.
The beer itself was quite easy to drink as it’s quite light in body, but it’s one worth savouring and taking your time with since you don’t want to build up the heat of the chilli too quickly.
All in all, after a rocky start, I enjoyed The Cronx Chilli Porter a lot, and if you’re a fan of Porters or a Chilli Head like myself it’s definitely worth a go. I’m looking forward to trying a lighter Cronx beer in the future – like a Saison or a Pale Ale. If you’re a Croydonite who drinks Cronx beers, send me some recommendations!
It took a bit for me to warm to the beer but, after a few sips, the heat of this Porter won me over! Viva La Cronx!