My brother Salvatore III is a budding home brewer — along with my Pops, Salvatore II — and has been anticipating his tour of Harpoon Brewery since, well, likely before he even began his two-year stint at Johnson & Wales culinary university in Providence, R.I.
The great news is that that tour didn’t happen until he was well-past 21 into the golden age of 22, visiting my sister in Beantown this weekend. At some point before, during or after the tour, Sam tasted their Jalapeño Cream Ale. Being a class act, my younger brother brought a growler home for us to taste. Thank God for his thoughtfulness.
What if a jalapeno had the flavor but not the sting? What if beer tasted not like beer, but instead an Auntie Anne’s jalapeño and sour cream pretzel? What if the world refused to end until it had successfully combined nachos, popcorn and Genny Cream Ale?
You’d have Harpoon’s Jalapeño Cream Ale. This, friends, is near-perfect. I know it’s a goofy experiment — and sadly they told Sam that once JCA was gone, it’s gone — but it is truly an enjoyable drinking experience. I love spicy food and I love the taste of jalapeños. While you only taste the flavor of the pepper, the memory of the sting dances through your brain alongside a buttery beauty provided by the beverage.
In other words, this beer really hit the spot. My brother doubted its true session-ability but the only thing that stopped me from unloading on glass after glass was the knowledge that I needed to drive home. Great stuff; It’s a bummer Harpoon won’t make just one full-time novelty beer. Think about it, folks!