Brewery: Shmaltz Brewing Company
City: New York and Northern California
Beer: Hebrew Jewbelation Twelve
Style: American Strong Ale
Notes: dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla and bourbon
If you can’t tell by the title of this blog post, this beer has nothing to do with being a ‘Christmas’ beer. Unless you’re illiterate, or just thick, this beer happens to be a ‘chosen beer’, celebrating Judaism. While this blog series is entitled the 12 Beers of Christmas, we felt the need to toast to Chanukah and celebrate the Holiday season.
Shmaltz Brewing Company is an American craft brewing company based in San Francisco, California that owns He’Brew Beer and Coney Island Lagers. He’brew beer was Founded as “a celebration craft beer for Jews” by originator Jeremy Cowan. The company’s beers now are distributed in over thirty-one U.S. states, Canada, and England. Shmaltz has enjoyed its success through contract brewing – meaning that Shmaltz hires a third-party brewer to produce their recipes with its extra brewing capacity. Shmaltz purchases the brewing services of Mendocino Brewing Company in Northern California and Old Saratoga Brewing Company in upstate New York to produce their He’Brew and Coney Island beers.
Be forewarned, this is a BIG beer. He’Brew’s Twelfth Anniversary beer is brewed with twelve different hops and twelve different malts, amassing an alcohol level of 12 percent. This beer was brewed in 2008 to celebrate Smaltz Brewing Company’s twelfth anniversary and I was fortunate to try this beer on tap at the Church Key, one of the finest beer bars in San Francisco. Mazel Tov!
This beer pours a dark, rich mahogany color that foams a thick medium brown color. Although the bar I was in was dimly lit, it was easy to tell that the opacity for this beer was zero. The creamy head capped the beer throughout the entire glass.
The aroma was easily the best part of this beer; an incredibly complex twist of dark fruit, molasses, caramel, and bourbon. The bourbon added a masterful bite to a beer reeking of malty goodness. Despite the proclaimed 12 variety of hops, they added very little aromatic value. However, I can state with a clear conscience that they were not missed for this beer.
This beer is a good sipping beer. The prominent flavors are the dark fruits and chocolate that you can actually feel wash over you. I can also taste a wonderfully subtle hint of vanilla and spice. The beer is then controlled by a strong bourbon flavor that warms the stomach well; the perfect bite for a cold winter night. Similar to the aroma, the 12 varieties of hops were overpowered by the strong malt character of this beer. All in all, this beer was delicious, my only critique would be that with all the malts and hops, the overall flavor was slightly muddled. Nonetheless, a great beer to celebrate the holidays and I’d like to raise a glass and joyously shout, ‘Le’chaim!’
Where can I find this beer?
Normally, the twelfth anniversary beer would be difficult to find as it was brewed over two years ago. Shmaltz is celebrating its fourteenth anniversary this year, but fortunately for beer drinkers across the U.S. they have launched their ‘Trinity of Jewbelation’ campaign. For this Chanukah, Shmaltz has chosen to distribute its previous eight recipes of Jewbelation, including the Twelfth, throughout the holidays to 88 different bars. Smaltz even offers a gift box containing all 8 Jewbelation beers including Vertical Jewbelation, a 100 percent barrel aged blend of all seven recipes aged in Rye Whiskey barrels. An assortment of these beers can be found at any of the 88 bars, Smaltz has chosen to distribute its tremendous line of Chanukah craft. See all the locations here.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the 8th beer of Christmas!