Chili cookoff: Very Nice on cold day

Barbara Lawlor, Nederland.  There is nothing more comforting, more warming, than a bowl of homemade chili on a chilly November day. On Sunday afternoon, the Very Nice Brewery invited more than a dozen chili chefs to enter the annual fundraising contest. A long table of slow cookers burbled all afternoon, simmering the diverse flavors, exhaling the spicy essence into the air.

It was a such a good deal: for just 2$ a person could receive a small bowl of whatever flavor fit their fancy. $5 for three bowls but the servings were large enough that three tastings would just about fill a mountain soul to the brim.


The Third Annual Chili Cookoff ticket sales proceeds will go to the Nederland Area Seniors, who will serve the chili as well as judge the entries. Red and green chili were judged according to taste, color, texture, meatiness and heat. Onions, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, and a variety of chips were there to add to the deliciousness of each unique batch.


The chilis were categorized by red, green and a number and the ingredients were listed for each. For example: Green 4 included pork, green chilies, onion, garlic, roasted tomatoes, cumin, black beans, dark chocolate, coffee and Monk’s Phunk. This entry will not only keep one warm, it will keep one awake, what with the caffeine and wondering what Monk’s Phunk is.


Red 2 consisted of light and dark kidney beans, onion, green peppers, green chilis, chili seasoning, ground chicken and tomatoes. A popular chili was Green 3 made with: smoked, pulled pork, fire roasted hatch green chilis, grilled onion, cumin, garlic, tequila, tomatillos, jalapeños and oregano.


Beer was a common ingredient, served outside and inside the chili, to help douse the fire while quenching the thirst.


The judges had their work cut out for them. Trying to keep the all the flavors separate enough to judge was a challenge, but they were up to it.


Winners were: Red, 1st-Clinton Riley; 2nd-Jessi Scheeler; and 3rd-Max Ward.


Green, 1st-Lyn Hanna; 2nd-Cori Boogaard; and 3rd-Daren Laesch.


All chili proceeds came to $483, of which $283will be given to our Nederland Area Seniors, plus $200 will be added from Very Nice’s Charity Beer Program, for a total of $483.


What could be better than chili, beer and bucks for the NAS?



(Originally published in the November 9, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.