Sweet Jesus. Sam Caglione and Dogfish are making Chicha at the Delaware pub.
And they're doing it properly. By chewing the corn prior to mashing. You see, unlike malted barley corn doesn't have the diastic enzymes to convert its own starches. But as anyone who's tried to eat 10 saltine crackers in a minute knows, your spit turns starches to sugar. So traditional chicha involves chewing a portion of the corn to get the enzymes going, then a cereal mash and boil as normal. Usually unfiltered, 3-6% alcohol, and typically open fermented. Mmmm frothy. Of course the boil and alcohol help kill any bacteria from your fellow villagers' mouths, so really it's safer to drink than the water.
Mostly. My first thought was the episode of Thirsty Traveler when he went to Peru, drank some really bad chicha, and was violently ill for the rest of the trip. This culminated in him wearing a t-shirt on which he'd written "Chica es el Diablo". He'd been trying for "Chicha is the Devil", but was then informed he'd actually written 'Girl is the Devil." Ha ha.
I've thought a couple times about trying to make a batch. I'm not so down with sitting there chewing corn for hours on end. But I think an 80% cereal mash with some six-row barley and a long sacc rest might work. Mmmm, corny.
Indefinite Hiatus - Well, given that it's been a year since this was last updated clearly I don't have the time I used to devote to it. So the blog is going on indefinite hiat...
5 years ago