It’s two staples of Charlotte’s food and beverage culture in one sip.
Birdsong Brewing Company and Amelie’s French Bakery are pairing up for a second year of macaron-and-beer collaborations. This year, the Amelie’s seasonal sorbet macaron, Strawberry Passion Fruit Sorbet Sandwiches, will be brewed into beer form as a tart fruit ale, Passion Play, releasing June 27 at 5 p.m. at the Belmont brewery. The beer will be available at the Amelie’s Uptown location soon thereafter.
Not only does the Amelie’s flagship location sit right across North Davidson Street from Birdsong’s original location in Villa Heights, but a marriage between two staff members — Amelie’s director of operations and executive chef Mary Jayne Wilson and Birdsong’s green team leader and facilities manager Opie Wilson — make this collaboration an easy fit.
We spoke with Jenny Sassman, sales representative and social media manager at Birdsong, who has been with the company since August 2012. She filled me in about new flavors, Birdsong’s deep relationship with Amelie’s and the charity benefiting from Passion Play’s creation.
Queen City Nerve: What’s the story behind this partnership with Amelie’s?
Jenny Sassman: When we were originally located at 2315 North Davidson, which was basically across the street from Amelie’s, we ate a lot of Amelie’s. We got a lot of coffee from Amelie’s. So we’ve always had a great relationship with Amelie’s. They’re such a great bakery, great community outreach, and last year, they were rolling out a lavender sorbet macaron sandwich and asked if we would be interested in making a beer for it. They provided all the lavender. We use the same ingredients in the sandwich that go into the beer.
It was such a great hit last year that we decided to do it again this year. Their sorbet sandwich flavor has changed to strawberry passion fruit and we decided to obviously make a beer to go with it. So it’s a strawberry passion fruit tart ale and there is a little bit of lactose in it to round it out. There’s a very tiny amount of lactose, the only reason I mention it is because the sorbet sandwich is gluten- and dairy-free and I don’t want people to think the beer is [gluten-free].
How did you land on that particular beer style for the flavoring?
We used the same passion fruit puree that Amelie’s uses for their sorbet. That tart style really matches up nicely with the sweet tartness of the sorbet and that cookie flavor from the macaron sandwiches. It just all works really nice together. The beer is phenomenal.
And it is a small batch, so this is not getting released out wholesale. It’s only going to be available on [June] 27th, because I’m sure we’re going to sell out of it.
What other flavors could you use as a bridge between Amelie’s and Birdsong?
With Amelie’s specifically, there’s so much you can do because they’re pastries; so we could do coconut, chocolate, any kind of fruit flavor. Fruit is super popular in beer right now. It would really depend on the pastry, but a lot of our beer is very culinary-inspired to begin with, so to match it up with something that Amelie’s is making is a no-brainer. We love pairing beer with food.
Another noteworthy part of the collaboration is that a portion of the proceeds from the event and the beer will go to Time Out Youth and we did that last year, too.
Why Time Out Youth?
It’s something that we’re passionate about. We support a lot of charities throughout the year and [Time Out Youth is] local. They do a lot of great stuff for the LGBTQ [community]. They help the [LGBTQ] community, specifically people between the ages of 11 and 20. It’s Pride Month right now, so it all fits.