Jalapeno Pale Ale Review
Brewery: Birdsong Brewing Company (Charlotte, NC)
Reviewed by: Patrick Kudla
Reviewed on: December 19, 2023
For The Beerded Lady Bottle Shop
About the brewery…
Starting out in 2010, Birdsong Brewing Co., as a neighborhood brewery between husband and wife, Chris and Tata Goulet and their friend Conor Robinson and formally founded in 2011 as “a group of friends who share a love for both great beer, and great people”. The Charlotte, NC-based brewery has become a local cornerstone. Birdsong Brewery is focused on sourcing locally, and environmentally responsible. In addition to recycling all their cardboard, glass, and aluminum, they have reduced their water consumption from 8 gallons of water to 1 gallon of beer down to a 4:1 ratio and are a solar-powered brewery.
Birdsong offers Year-round beers, Seasonal beers, and limited-release beers. In addition to the Jalapeno Pale Ale, you should easily find your year-round favorites such as Lazy Bird Brown Ale, Rewind Lager, and Higher Ground West-Coast IPA among others.
For the Winter seasonal beers, keep an eye on the shelves for Wake-Up Porter, a coffee and vanilla beer typically available between September through October, so stock is limited. But don’t worry, MexiCali, a cinnamon, cocoa nib, coffee, and habanero bliss is sure to keep you warm this winter!
We suggest checking out their website, https://birdsongbrewing.com for more information on their seasonals, or asking your favorite Beerded Lady bartender to see if maybe they can get a special order in. Their latest limited release was a KodaChrome IPA!
Judging a beer by its can…
Birdsong always seems to have fun and engaging designs and fonts for their cans. All of them feature their iconic bird logo. For today’s Jalapeno Pale Ale, the golden bird is standing on a big green jalapeno with the Charlotte skyline gracing the bottom of the can. The one-pint can clocks in at a mild 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), making it an easy drinker.
The only real text on the can is a note simply titled, “IS IT SPICY?“. A handy guide that I often point out to people when recommending someone to try it. I’ll let you read the details on the can for yourself, but for those of you worried about a spicy beer, there’s no heat in this one, only the flavor of the jalapeno pepper. Yes, peppers, like every other vegetable, have a flavor and I’m not referring to the capsaicin. There’s also a badge with the Birdsong logo stating that the brewery brews and cans their own creations!
Taking a look at what’s inside…
Now, I usually enjoy the jalapeno pale ale straight from the can. This time, I want to share the experience of opening and pouring this fine beverage into a glass…
Pulling that familiar aluminum tab, there’s a crisp clean “pop” as the pressure is released. The can is appropriately filled. That’s about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the can’s lid. This reduces the chance of getting your fingers soaked with beer in the cold winter air.
With the pour, a stream of golden wheat-colored liquid streams into the glass and the carbonation doesn’t appear overcharged. The bubbles almost seem to spiral their way to the top. The head of the beer forms a pure white foam, thin and gentle. The aroma of the beer and pepper can already be picked up. As the head dissipates, there remains a little left over as carbonation continues to fall out of solution.
Nosing the beer, the first things you’ll notice are a sweet scent and a pepper scent slightly accentuated by Columbus and Galena hops. These are quickly balanced by a classic pale ale aroma and play perfectly together.
The first experience…
Go ahead, take your first sip… I’ll wait. Among the fine carbonation lightly fizzing on your tongue, do you taste that pepper? You immediately expect a large amount heat to follow, but your mind is bamboozled because it doesn’t happen!
Take another sip. There is a slight reaction in your mouth as if you are biting into an orange for the first time, a sour-like or citrus-like reaction in the back of your mouth near your tonsils. As that citrus-like taste fades, the peppery notes you get are highlighted by using Willamette hops. Birdsong removes the seeds from the peppers before tossing them in.
In full disclosure, Birdsong’s Jalapeno Pale Ale ranks as one of my top two beers of all time. It is my go-to beer for summer, whether by the pool, grilling, smoking, or barbequing, or just an easy drink that is packed with flavor and still light-bodied. I lean heavier towards darker beers in the winter, but sometimes, when I’m looking for something else for those long dark nights needing something to enjoy while dealing with family shenanigans, it’s this beer that takes me to my happy place!
Once again, this beer isn’t hot. The mild flavor is a great palate cleanser. It’s an easy drinker. Even if you don’t like jalapenos on your burger, there’s still a good bet you’ll enjoy this beer. With a 45 IBU (International Bittering Units), it technically can classify as an IPA, but the hops used are classic Pale Ale hops.
The Beerded Lady recently had a Birdsong Tap Takeover and had many great beers on tap. Unfortunately, the distributor had sold the last keg they had of the Jalapeno Pale Ale, so they weren’t able to get one for the tap takeover, thank you NC beer and distribution laws… thank you. Luckily, The Beerded Lady does tend to keep several singles and 4 packs in stock on end of the third row on the left-hand side near the coolers. Grab some for yourself or as a gift for your beer-loving friends this holiday!
Important Take Aways
- Does it contain Jalapenos, yes, but is it HOT? NO!
- Light-bodied, sweet notes come from the hops and balance the peppery notes, also from hops.
- Pair with meats (chicken, pork, and steak) that are mildly seasoned.
- If you LIKE heat, pair it with a burger with jalapenos or bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers.
Patrick is a former professional brewer for Greenshield’s Brewpub in downtown Raleigh, and for Duck-Rabbit Brewery in Farmville, NC. He is an avid homebrewer of beer, mead, and wine for over 24 years. Having grown up in Raleigh after moving from the Chicago area, Patrick experienced the boom of Raleigh’s beer scene while it exploded. Patrick has dedicated his life to mastering the art of brewing. His deep knowledge of ingredients, brewing techniques, and flavor profiles allows him to appreciate and critique beers with an expert’s eye for the non-brewer.
As a beer review blogger, Patrick’s creativity and descriptive prowess truly shine. With each review, he takes his readers on a journey through the intricate flavors and aromas that make each beer unique. Whether it’s a hoppy IPA, a rich stout, or a refreshing pilsner, Patrick’s eloquent descriptions guide the reader to feel as though they’re sipping the beer themselves. What sets Patrick apart is his genuine enthusiasm for sharing his love of beer with others. He wholeheartedly believes that beer is not just a beverage, but a cultural experience that brings people together. His engaging writing style and friendly demeanor make his blog a go-to resource for beer enthusiasts and novices alike.
So, whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or simply curious about exploring the world of craft brews, Patrick can be found at his favorite watering hole, The Beerded Lady in Garner, NC, as he enjoys beers among peers and sharing the time-honored tradition “wassailing”.
“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin