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No Label Don Jalapeno Michelada by Tony

 

No Label Don Jalapeno Michelada

No Label Brewing Co.

Katy, TX

Pale Ale with Jalapenos

ABV: 6%

IBUs: 17

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. Bottles

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Let me start by saying this is one of the most polarizing beers I know of. Anytime it’s mentioned the hard-core beer snobs hate it, the macro drinkers have never heard of it, and the people in between love it. Let me also say, if you’re really just here for the Don Jalapeno Michelada recipe, just scroll to the end.

For the last six or seven years, I’ve been on a hunt to try a different beer each week. It wasn’t anything real serious early on, but after my wife told me one Spring day in 2013, “Did you hear? There’s some little brewery in Katy now, and they make a beer full of jalapenos.” Eyes wide, the hunt began.

I found it at Sprouts one afternoon, and my passion for craft beer began.

While cooking dinner, I busted the first one open. At first, I really wasn’t sure about it, but I had 5 more to drink, so I went for a second one. It was the second one that got me. I think the first one was so violently different than anything I’d ever had, it took my palette a while to adjust.

Don Jalapeno’s not the kind of beer you drink all the time, and since it’s seasonal, I usually grab a 6 pack each Spring/Summer once I see it on the shelf. Don Jalapeno pours a cloudy amber color, with medium-light body, and pretty lively carbonation. It pours with a finger of light tan head that sticks around for the party, as it laces down the glass a little.

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The aroma of Don Jalapeno is almost all jalapeno. There’s notes of green, freshness from the 30lbs of fresh jalapenos as well as roasty, smokey notes from the 30lbs of roasted jalapenos. There’s a subtle malty sweetness on the nose, and that note makes its way into the flavor, along with all the peppers.

It starts off crisp and pale, and then the smokiness comes after the sip, and there’s a marathon of a finish that’s dry and spicy on the back of your throat. I thoroughly enjoy spicy foods, so it’s a welcomed difference for me, but I wholly understand, this ain’t for everybody.

When it comes to fruit beers and adjuncts, I find myself a bit more opinionated. For example, a Grapefruit Sculpin is delicious to me because it’s got grapefruit+Sculpin – there’s some balance, and neither overpowers the other. Don Jalapeno isn’t as balanced, and usually I’d have a complaint about that, but this one has always gotten a pass since day one.

I love it. There’s no macro comparison, but there are a few delicious spicy beers out there for those that enjoy spiciness. I give Don Jalapeno 4 stars because of it’s creativity and execution. I’m also partial to it as it opened up my eyes to the world of creativity that beer has to offer.

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Don Jalapeno can be found on tap all over town (even though this list isn’t very long), and I see it at HEBs all the time, but this is apparently the last year it’s being produced.

Mark Vandervoort, No Label Cellarmen, mentioned that it might be getting the axe when I went out for a taste of their DDH IPA, and they recently confirmed it on Facebook. He said they’ve got dozens of new brews in the works, and something’s gotta go at some point. It’s sad to see Don Jalapeno go though.

If you’re really into spicy stuff, you can make a Michelada with it. I prefer it Don Jalapeno on it’s own, and I think if you’re really trying to make a Michelada, there are a handful of beers that better fit the bill, but for the sake of sharing…

I saw a little display with a recipe at my local HEB, and I decided I’d share my own family Michelada recipe. Between Micheladas and Bloody Marys, there’s always a big competition between my mom and my uncle, although they use the exact same recipe. This is my version of it.

Don Jalapeno Michelada Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz No Label Don Jalapeno (ice cold)
  • 3-4 Splashes Salsa Inglesa (Worcestershire Sauce)
  • 3-4 oz. Clamato tomato juice
  • 3-4 Splashes Mexican hot sauce (I prefer Tapatio, Cholula or Valentina)
  • Juice of 1 Fresh lime
  • Tajin clasico (you can use low-sodium if you prefer, but no Habanero, Chamoy or Sazon)
  • Pickled or fresh Jalapeno for garnish (optional)

 

You might have some of this stuff in the kitchen already, in which case, just go buy the beer. Also, I cut the limes in such a way that allows me to have a sliver for a garnish and use the rest for juice in the actual michelada. See pics.

Don Jalapeno Michelada Instructions:

  1. Cut a lime, and rub the rim of the glass with it by sprinkling it on the edges above the sink or a plate. Alternatively, sprinkle the Tajin onto the plate, and rub the rim in it.Beer-Chronicle-Houston-Beer-no-label-don-jalapeno_0002_Michelada-Recipe
  2. Fill the glass about 1/4 to 2/3 with the liquid ingredients listed above, Clamato, hot sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire. Dump any extra Tajin from the plate into the juice if you want extra zing.Beer-Chronicle-Houston-Beer-no-label-don-jalapeno_0003_Michelada-Recipe
  3. Fill the remainder with your cold Don Jalapeno, but pour carefully, as the head will come roaring up from all the Tajin.Beer-Chronicle-Houston-Beer-no-label-don-jalapeno_0005_Michelada-toppings
  4. Garnish and enjoy. I use pickled jalapenos and carrots.

I’ve also used Don Jalapeno for marinating grilled chicken, and it’s pretty good, although I have a few other go-to’s for marinating. The Don Jalapeno Michelada is a spicy, tangy kick of a drink that serves as the hair of the dog for some and a meal in a cup for others.

Don Jalapeno is a creative, unique, and well-executed take on a spicy beer. You like the fire? Or do you put it out? I’ve heard stories from both ends of the spectrum, but we’d like to hear from you. Let us know below. Beers to you, Houston.

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Tony D
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Tony's an artist that loves craft brew almost as much as he does Houston. He's worked in the oil industry and owns a few small businesses. Tony isn't picky when it comes to beer types, as long as it's refreshing and sessionable.

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