Beer: Jalapeno Pale Ale
Brewery: Birdsong Brewing Company (Charlotte, NC)
I will readily admit that I’m a punk about spice. I like my wings on mild and my curry on one. Just the other day, a candied jalapeno pepper made me cry in front of my employer, coworkers, server, and my girl–full on tears. I’m a P-U-N-K. So, if you’re wary of spice like myself, then you’re safe with this little glass of hop-forward deliciousness.
Hopped with Columbus, Galena, Williamette and Fuggle varieties, the Jalapeno Pale Ale from Birdsong Brewing Company, jalapeno notwithstanding, would be a solid example of an American Pale Ale. Pepperless, this beer goes by the name Free Will, however, I’d use my powers of choice to go for the pepper version.
What makes this beer particularly unique is that Birdsong puts in the extra effort to pick out the jalapeno seeds and, more importantly, the membrane, and the pesky capsaicin (the natural compound that makes peppers hot) that they bring with them. So, no, this beer won’t cure your aches and pains, but it also won’t make smoke come out of your ears like a Looney Toon. I am not sure HOW they do it exactly, but I hope it includes teeny tiny birds pecking them out with teeny tiny beaks rather than they new guy drawing the short straw. Anyways, without the capsaicin, you get the nimble grassiness of the jalapeno pepper without the tears, poops of fire, and corresponding embarrassment. It’s a great find when you want a simple, clean beer with a touch of excitement.
The consistent, clean production of this beer is yet another reason that Jalapeno Pale Ale stands out of the flock. I strongly recommend Birdsong Jalapeno Pale Ale, but please do NOT confuse this ringing endorsement as an endorsement of all pepper/gourd beers (here’s looking at you pumpkin beers). This style is particularly prone to off flavors, in particular, DMS, which is everything unpleasant about any vegetable ever sloughed onto a melamine cafeteria tray. I don’t eat creamed corn or spinach or creamed anything for a reason, so I certainly see no reason to drink it.
Flutter on little songbirds, flutter on.
Featured image is an original photo by The Editor.