Conscious Choice – The Beer Pickle
The Beer Pickle by Conscious Choice is another item picked up while at the New Orleans Hot Sauce Show, and well, if you read into the storied history of how this item came about, it almost sounds like finding it in NOLA was all about that batch of pickles coming full circle back to it’s roots in it’s place of birth. It reads as a tale of a sailor who found his way to a ladies home one night after some drinks to discover what just might be the ultimate hangover cure. I can’t begin to do justice to telling the story, so I’ll just let you read the story of its past and then we’ll get down to the business of trying it out here in the present.
“In May of 1977 a young sailor fresh out of the Navy with a new Harley tucked between his legs makes his way into New Orleans and finds a quaint local bar. He sits down beside a young lady with coal black hair and eyes that were green as Caribbean calm waters. After several hours of imbibing and dancing, Harold and the lady leave for her house to enjoy a quieter setting. More drinks were had and the nighttime shifts towards morning and as hunger sets in, the lady offers up a jar of pickles to munch on while she makes fried spam and egg sandwiches for their early morning snack. Harold grabs a pickle and realizes it’s hotter than anything he had eaten in a while. She said, “I call it The Beer Pickle”. She also told him that if he would slice up those pickles and put them on his sandwich he would suffer no hangover the next day. Harold asked her where she had gotten such a delightful treat and she told him that she had made them herself. She said,…”Two Mardi Gras ago I was suffering a terrible migraine headache when a Rastafarian priest asked what was wrong. He then scribbled this pickle recipe on a piece of paper while warning me they were very hot, very powerful and full of healing qualities.” The next morning Harold woke up refreshed, very satisfied and had no ill effects from his rowdy partying of the previous day. Thirty three years and three divorces later Harold is cleaning out his dresser drawer when he finds an old penicillin prescription bottle shoved through a finger hole of his brass knuckles. Before throwing away the bottle he opens it and to his surprise finds the long lost recipe for the fabulous and magical Beer Pickle. After spending months locating the special ingredients, Harold’s first batches of Beer Pickles were born in Dallas, TX. His hard work has paid off because his Beer Pickles are just as hot, just as healing and just as magical as when he tasted them that fateful night in New Orleans of 1977.”
Now on to the eating part of this. There’s a salt aroma to this pickle jar that doesn’t seem as aggressive as most, it almost has that smooth salty sea breeze to it. Now that’s assuming it’s a sea made of dill and garlic infused vinegar, but hey, how often you run across that? For those familiar with the Harold’s Texicun Gormay Pickles that we reviewed on a previous Live! show, you’ll be familiar with the Conscious Choice method of doing a thick cut variety of pickles that is about ¾ to a full inch wide per slice that sometimes look more like pickle nuggets. The ingredient list is pretty short and sweet for this one. It’s made of Cucumbers, Water (specifically “Tap”), Vinegar, Salt, Red Chile Peppers, Garlic, Dill, Habanero Powder and Spice Extract. The first bite in to these, you get a nice crunch and the normal taste of a well concocted garlic and dill pickle, and then it comes, that sudden surprise of habanero bite, but not nearly as heavy hitting as the Texicun Gormay’s seemed to be. All joking aside about grammar and spelling on the Texicun labels, this just might be the more refined spicy cousin in the family. The flavor is quite similar to the others, but the punch of heat is more subtle and the flavors tend to blend better. I’m going to have to give this a Medium on the heat range and a Notable on flavor, and this is probably going to replace my jar of Texicun Purdy Hot in the fridge. Harold, I’m not sure what voodoo you learned back in NOLA for this pickle, but it’s top notch stuff. It’s definitely my new pickle on the skewer for my Bloody Marias.