Nirvana Brewery is the UK’s first fully dedicated nolo brewery, founded in 2016 in Leyton, East London, but it’s been a while since we’ve reviewed one of their beers here on Free Beer. A mixed case of their offerings was the source of some of our very first reviews back in 2020, covering the majority of their output. Since then it appears they’ve been going from strength-to-strength, and honestly to be able to say that after the business climate of the last few years shows the amount of work that has been put in. In that time they’ve undergone several funding drives, had their products featured in papers such as The Independent, and to top it off their founder Becky Kean was also awarded with the accolade of one of Management Today’s ’35 Women Under 35 2022‘ – highlighting innovation and dynamic drive.
While the company has been growing as a whole, we haven’t really seen much movement in the line-up of beers offered by Nirvana Brewery. There have been a few ‘limited edition’ brews, such as a lemon gose and a porter, but as may be apparent to regular readers of this blog I’m sometimes slow to catch up on limited releases. So when the announcement of a new pair of beers from the brewer was made, ‘Heavenly’ orange and thyme kettle sour, and the subject of this review – ‘Hell-ish’ jalapeño lager, I put in an order with my usual supplier.
The first thing that pleased me was the move to cans – so much easier to store and ship. The new can designs are now more striking than their previous labels, with the Nirvana logo far more prominent. Nirvana Brewery’s Hell-ish Jalapeno Lager uses chillies in it’s recipe, as you’d expect from it’s name, but I’m wondering how they will come through in the beer. We’ve had Mash Gang successfully use chilli to mimic some of that ‘alcohol burn’ in some of their brews, though jalapeno has a distinctive taste and aroma, so it will be interesting to see if we get the flavour rather than tastebud numbing from them.
Pouring the beer out from the can we get a light golden coloured liquid with lots of visible streams of bubbles. A small frothy head is produced, quite tightly packed, which recedes after a time but leaves a touch of lacing as we drink. On the nose we get bready malts, some peppery spice (but not chilli spicy), and some golden syrup sweetness. The aroma of jalapeno is discernible but not overpowering and not too savoury.
When we taste the jalapeno flavour is up-front, earthy and aromatic, almost floral, but without any of the associated heat or spiciness. It’s also quite mild. This is backed up by bready lager malt and more spice (but again, not chilli). The body is light and the carbonation does the heavy lifting, but the mouthfeel is a bit thin. The jalapeno lingers in the finish but again is rather mild.
Nirvana Brewery Hell-ish Jalapeno Lager is certainly an interesting combination of flavours, and not quite what I was expecting from initial impressions. The flavour of the chilli pepper does work with the lager malts, but it needs to be punchier in my opinion. The same with the chilli heat – we need some of that spiciness that has worked so well in a couple of Mash Gang’s beers, especially if this beer is meant to be on the ‘hell-ish’ side of things. I hope Nirvana Brewery stick with this one and improve it.
Buy Nirvana Brewery Hell-ish Jalapeno Lager
Nirvana Brewery beers are becoming a common sight in bottle shops, and the odd pub or restaurant also stock them. You’re more likely to get your hands on Hell-ish Jalapeno Lager online though, try the following retailers:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Additional nutritional information not given. Boo, hiss!|
|Water, Yeast, Lager Malt, Munich Malt, Cara Malt, Dana Hops, Jalapenos|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||Nirvana Brewery – https://www.nirvanabrewery.com/|
|Vegan Friendly?||Yes, all Nirvana Brewery beers are vegan friendly|
Nirvana Brewery Hell-ish Jalapeno Lager Review
An interesting combination of flavours, just needs to up the jalapeno flavour and chilli kick. And some warm weather to drink it in!