BentSpoke's 20-chilli beer comes to Canberra's Multicultural Festival 2016

Chilli beer from BentSpoke Brewery for the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra
Chilli beer from BentSpoke Brewery for the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra Photo: Supplied

The 20-Chilli Beer

The beer always makes the festival and one of the centrepiece beers is BentSpoke Brewing Co's 20th anniversary beer, made with 20 different chillis from around the world. Brewer Richard Watkins says the idea for the beer came when they were thinking about the diversity of the festival. 

"That's when the idea of making a beer with different varieties of chillis from all over the world sprang to mind," he says. 

"The beer uses 20kg of 20 different chillis from every continent (except Antarctica!). There's chillis from places like Mexico, Turkey, Chile, Thailand, Peru, Vietnam and Africa."

The varieties range from ancho and smoked morita to chipotle and birds eye. But what does it taste like? "It has a nice smoky, earthy chilli aroma with good malt sweetness which balances the heat," Watkins says. "It's got a solid amount of heat off the bat, but it's not like a vindaloo. The heat hits you first, coats your mouth but doesn't go any deeper than that."

And there's another twist - you can increase the chilli quotient. "We know that everyone has a different tolerance for heat. We used galaxy hop flowers from Victoria and blended them with some of the chillies to make a Hot Hop sauce," Watkins says. "If the beer itself isn't spicy enough for you, you can add some Hot Hop sauce."

Other beers to look out for include a special blackberry ale that has been concocted by the Wig and Pen and Pact Beer Co, which Chris Shanahan has checked out - his thoughts are on page 15. Christoph Zierholz and his brewery are also serving up at the festival and the Snowy Mountain Brewing Co are represented. 

Quick Guide to the Food

Greek: The Greek contingent is always one of the most well prepared. Expect loukoumades, souvlaki, calamari and chips and plenty of smiles.

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Ethiopian: Gentle curries, heaping serves of stewed meats, flatbread and tangy injera. The cluster of African food stalls at the festival seems to be growing and is always worth a visit. 

Sticks: A spiralised potato? Chunks of spicy meat? Sausages? If it can be skewered, it will be. 

Estonian: There's a stall from the Baltic nation.

Malaysian: A Malaysian village with a collection of stalls including PappaRich in the city and a couple of eateries from Sydney. Satay sticks? Surely.

Turkish: Another big player in the Multicultural Festival. Gozleme, flatbreads and more. 

South America: Mr Papa has been a fixture recently and there's always the chance of Peruvian street food, pupusas, empanadas and more.