Earlier this month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis added fuel to a long-burning fiery debate when he took to social media to proclaim that Colorado’s Pueblo green chiles are better than those from Hatch, New Mexico.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham responded that her state’s chiles would win in any head-to-head contest, but up until now, the chile war has been a cold – or would that be mild? – one.
Finishing the day with green chile chicken enchiladas from Los Hermanitos in Farmington made with New Mexico chile, of course. Eat your heart out! pic.twitter.com/Jc0eoSlA9y— Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) July 11, 2019
Carver Brewing Co. aims to change that, bringing the battlefield to the Durango brewpub and letting diners determine which is the better chile.
“We saw this battle between the governors of New Mexico and Colorado venting over who has the best chiles,” said Chef David Cuntz. “... All they really do is banter.”
“We thought, let’s do a side-by-side taste test,” said owner Mike Hurst. “... We call ourselves a Southwestern brewpub, so we thought this is a great place to stage this battle because it’s right on the border.”
The contest begins with a lunch and dinner special on Wednesday and will last “until the chile is gone,” said Cuntz, who has 24 pounds of both in his kitchen.
The contest will take the form of vegetarian green chili served in two cups on one plate – one flying the Colorado flag and the other with New Mexico’s – served with corn tortilla chips to clean your palate. Guests will be able to indicate on the flags which they thought was better, Cuntz said.
Standings will be updated on Carver Brewing Co.’s Facebook page.
As an unblinded experiment, the study does not eliminate bias from the contest. Hurst and Cuntz have clear opinions.
“We’re both native Coloradans, so we’re a little biased, but I think the Hatch is going to win,” Hurst said when asked for his predictions.
“I don’t know, I think this community likes a little spice,” Cuntz responded. “I mean, when you eat a chile, you want spice. The Hatch has some spice – it’s variable, but the Pueblos is going to be solid. It’ll definitely make you brows sweat.”
Carver Brewing usually gets Colorado chiles from its own farm, which will be coming at the end of the summer this year. When it doesn’t have its own chiles, it uses authentic hatch chiles, Hurst said.
This is the first time the restaurant brewpub has worked with Pueblo chiles, Cuntz said.