An Expert Explains How To Take Cheap Beer To The Next Level With A Dash Of Hot Sauce

Beer has always held a special place in people's hearts, but within the past few years, its popularity has seemingly skyrocketed with a plethora of new, artisanal brewers popping up all over the world. And while there will always be room for complex lagers and innovative IPAs, sometimes it's best to keep it simple with a pack of cheap, ice-cold beer. The sound of a beer can cracking open is reminiscent of house parties, good friends, and summer days on the lake. You can certainly find more flavorful beverage options nowadays, but there's something to be said for the nostalgic value of cheap beer. Besides, you can always easily amp up the taste with a dash or two of hot sauce.


We spoke to Noah Chaimberg, the founder and CEO of HEATONIST, the official hot sauce brand for the popular YouTube show "Hot Ones." According to Chaimberg, "Inexpensive beers are prime candidates for making a michelada," which is a twist on the bloody mary. All you have to do is add a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce to a beer glass, bottle, or can for an instantly upgraded drink.

A makeshift michelada

The classic michelada recipe typically involves crafting a cocktail with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, a squeeze of lime, and Mexican beer. But with this hack, you can get the same amazing taste experience of hops and heat without the extra steps. There are a few techniques you can employ when adding hot sauce; you could shake a few drops directly into the beer, coat the rim of your drinking vessel, or even pour sauce up to the rim or your beer can for full flavor in every sip.


Combining beer and spice is nothing new. Whether you're chowing down on buffalo wings or a Cajun crawfish boil — a crisp, refreshing beer is just the thing to cool you off. "People tend to crave a refreshing drink when eating spicy food, whether it helps with the heat or not," says Noah Chaimberg.

However, alcohol can help you increase your spice tolerance. "Alcohol can actually diffuse capsaicin," Chaimberg explains. "The higher the proof, the more effective it is as an antidote."

Since hot sauce is portable, it's easy to take a bottle with you when planning parties and picnics for a pseudo-cocktail on the go. Most importantly, a splash of hot sauce can subtly enhance beer's flavor, and it adds some intricacy to otherwise bland brews.


Pairing suggestions

In time, you will certainly find your perfect beer and hot sauce pairing, but there are a few things to consider that will get you going in the right direction. Ideally, your makeshift michelada should be balanced, so the spice doesn't overwhelm the hops and the bitterness doesn't ruin the heat. A beer with a light flavor mixed with a straightforward hot sauce is a safe bet. For more specific pairings, the folks over on Reddit recommend Pacifico beer with Valentina hot sauce, or Corona with Cholula. You should pick a beer with a relatively low alcohol content, since it's hard to have just one bottle (or can) of this amazing fusion. Luckily, that's usually not an issue with cheap beer.


Your spicy libation will be a delightful accompaniment for everything from greasy bar food to hotter global cuisine. Micheladas also go especially well with pork chops! Carefully crafted cocktails will always be a treat, but all you really need for an incredibly refreshing drink is a pack of cheap beer, a bottle of hot sauce, and a lime or two. Then, you just need to kick back and enjoy all your hard work.