Beer from Here: Birdsong Brewing – Jalapeño Pale Ale
Founded in 2011, Birdsong Brewing Co. is all about great beer and great people. Their goal at launch was simple: brew flavorful, unfiltered quality craft and bring that to Charlotte. The result? Four year-round offerings (Free Will Pale Ale, Lazy Bird Brown, Higher Ground IPA and Jalapeño Pale Ale) and a mix of 11 seasonal/limited release beers that round out their portfolio. Birdsong also makes an effort to use local resources and encourages the promotion of small businesses and local agriculture in the Charlotte area.
This past April the brewery moved into a new 17,000 square foot location in the popular NoDa district. The brewery upgraded to a 30-barrel system from its current 10-barrel system and added larger fermentation tanks with a goal of brewing 5,400 barrels this year. A canning line was also added to the nest to package the Jalapeño Pale Ale.
While Birdsong kegs typically don’t migrate this far east, we do have access to the next best thing – fresh canned beer. The brewery decided to make Jalapeño Pale Ale their first canned offering and a few bottle shops in the Triangle decided to pick up some of this delicious nectar. I was intrigued because I enjoy peppers and anything hot. But in my beer? Yes, please!
The pale poured a hazy golden-orange from the 16 oz. can. Visible carbonation was accompanied by tiny particles of floating yeast. There wasn’t much head or foam to my pour and what was there quickly dissipated into a thin ring.
The aroma got me really excited. You can smell the pepper right away, but it’s by no means overpowering. A write-up on the can states the jalapeños are seeded before added during dry hopping. This process adds more to the aroma and less heat to the taste. I also picked up slight citrus and floral notes.
With my nose on a pepper high, it was my taste buds turn. They were greeted with a mild bitterness and a slight spice on the front. The malt bill was light and very cracker-like, but I assume that was done on purpose to let the jalapeños shine. The ale rounded out with herbal notes and a subtle, but noticeable heat.
Crisp and quaffable. I’m amazed at how easy it is to down this beer. While it was lighter on the malt and hops, it’s sessionable and the heat is well-balanced. Even if you’re not a fan of pepper beers, I think it’s worth exploring. Perhaps Birdsong can release a 2.0 version with more heat? I’d be all over it. I can’t wait to check out the brewery when I visit Charlotte.
Jalapeño Pale Ale and other Birdsong Brewing beers can be found in bars, restaurants and specialty stores around Charlotte and select locations in Fayetteville, the Triad, the Triangle and Wilmington.
Brewery: Birdsong Brewing Company
City: Charlotte, NC
Style: American Pale Ale
Availability: Year-round, draft and 16 oz. cans