The Jew And The Carrot

8 Beers for 8 Nights

By Hannah Rubin

  • Print
  • Share Share
Shmaltz Brewing Co.

With dancing rabbis, clowns, and unicorns adorning their bottles, and names like Genesis Ale and Funky Jewbelation, Shmaltz Brewing Company’s He’Brew beer commands the attention of the liquor store browser — myself included.

The little-engine-that-could brewing company has made big waves over the past 16 years. Starting as an inside joke between Southern Californian friends, the brewing company, which celebrates “delicious beer and delicious shtick,” now has products on the shelves of 31 states. And its beer, brewed in Saratoga Springs, has won worldwide acclaim.

And so, I gathered some fellow beer connoisseurs and foodies in order to judge how good this He’brew beer actually was. Lucky for us, Shmaltz’s Holiday Gift Pack just hit store shelves, and includes eight diverse varieties of their wildly different craft brews.

The results? Delight. These brews are fun, distinctive, flavorful, clever and generally enjoyable to drink. The packs are expensive, from $25 to $30 depending on the store, but worth it. And so, with the opinions and insights of my overly opinionated sensitively-beer-tongued-friends, I provide you with a guide for enjoying each beer to its fullest flavor potential.

Highlights

Most Delicious: Reunion Ale ’12, A Beer for Hope
Brewed with cocoa nibs and cinnamon, the Reunion Ale is truly the quintessential Hanukkah beer. The sweet complexity, the refreshing lightness, the dark rosy color all hearken back to the delicious root beers of my youth, but with a stormy and delectably alcoholic edge. Serve up some jelly donuts, crack the top, inhale the sweetness and enjoy.

Most Intense: Jewbelation Sweet 16
The sensation of drinking Jewbelation Sweet 16, which boasts of 16 malts, 16 hops, and 16% alcohol content, is similar to that of eating pop rocks—from the moment the smell hits your nostrils until the last dregs of libation have made their way safely into your abdomen, the flavors of this beer continually change. Thirty two flavors, to be exact. Most detectable are the strong caramel and toffee undertones, and its overwhelmingly hoppy finish. “I split a 12 oz. bottle with a friend, and man, you can really feel it,” Shmaltz’s proprietor Jeremy Cowen told the Forward. “It’s a dangerous beer, so I recommend savoring it with friends.” Indeed.

Best Latke Beer: Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A
Brewed as a tribute to Lenny Bruce, this Double India Pale Ale is surprisingly approachable. A deep amber color, Lenny’s R.I.P.A is rich, warm, and about half as bitter as I expected it to be. The rye malt flavor is deep and complicated, lending the honeyed brew a nice woodsy flavor. I would pair this bad boy with meat and latkes.

Best Beer To Drink While Chatting With Your Grandma: Messiah Nut Brown Ale
If the warm reddish-brown color of this tasty ale doesn’t convince you to drink it, then the tastes sure will. A nutty brown ale, the Messiah has a soft and creamy mouthfeel, and a malty smooth finish. Undertones of chocolate will constantly keep your palette amused.

The Final Four

Funky Jewbelation
Dark and thick, Funky J tastes shockingly sweet, and incredibly funky. This malty brew has a slightly syrupy finish, so I would recommend sipping it slowly with a friend. Or make a beer float with it, if you’re feeling lucky.

Genesis: Dry Hopped Session Ale
The Genesis is smooth and light — with a tangy bitter finish that supplants its early sweetness. A constellation of simple flavors and a sweet apple-y aroma lend this soft beer a deliciously subtle punch.

Origin: Pomegranate Ale
Don’t be fooled by the pomegranate brewed into this Imperior Amber Ale — for sweet and fruity it is not. This beer is rich and simple, but a little heavy on the alcoholic finish.

Hop Manna
Hop Manna is a rich marigold color, and emits a deep citrusy aroma. Its bitterness does not disappoint, even while being tempered gently by undertones of honey and pine.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish Beer, He'Brew, Hanukkah Beer, Beer

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.