Clifton Park, NY ... When people hear the word 'Score' they likely picture their favorite sports team or a piece of music that touched their hearts, or perhaps a shady back alley deal from days of youthful indiscretions. For the finale of 2016 and at this significant milestone of maturity, Shmaltz Brewing Company looks at the word Score in a more expansive sense -- Biblical (Psalm 90), Presidential (4 score and 7 years), Historical ('I Have a Dream'). The Score defined for Shmaltz's Anniversary marks 20 years.
20 Years -- celebrating being the largest, the smallest, the most award winning, and astonishingly still the only Jewish celebration beer in the country. And also 20 years as a complex borscht of much more as well -- creating brands, selling brands, acquiring brands. Reinventing the company to reflect the new brick and mortar facility. Transforming from exclusively contracting brewing with another producer to now being a contract brewer itself for other respected regional beer companies.
Born in San Francisco, raised in Brooklyn and New York City, and now based in Upstate New York, Shmaltz more than ever reaches beyond its niche to the ongoing revolution of craft brewing succeeding across the globe.
Created as an experiment for Chanukah in 1996, Shmaltz owner/founder, Jeremy Cowan, gathered a small tribe of friends to hand squeeze pomegranates to add to the first batch of He'brew Beer's Genesis Ale®. Hand bottled, hand labeled, and delivered by the founder in his grandmother's Volvo (and 5 cases by Cowan's mother as well), He'brew became the Chosen Beer for a generation of those taking their first steps into the artisan world of craft beer.
Leap forward , Genesis ®, a mighty barrel-aged tart barleywine percolates from a 40,000 square feet brewery and travels to nearly 40 states across the country. Over 30 professional tribe members comprise the Shmaltz efforts, continuing to amass over 40 awards and counting. Through this trek, Shmaltz maintains its enduring sense of shtick that paved the way to this milestone.
Shmaltz isn't going through this Score alone, but joins an illustrious lineup of fellow Class of '96ers across the US. For Chicago Beer Week, the 20th anniversary festivities kicked off with Three Floyds Brewing at Northdown Taproom, pouring a all-star lineup of Shmaltz's Goliaths, such as She'Brew Triple IPA®, R.I.P.A. on Rye Barrel-Aged Rye Double IPA®, and the preview cask of Genesis ®. In San Francisco, Shmaltz teamed up with ThirstyBear Organic Brewery for its own 20th anniversary jubilee and raised a pint to where it all began. In Denver at GABF, Shmaltz joined Bear Republic, Coronado, and Ballast Point at iconic Falling Rock Tap House. Most recently at The Well in Brooklyn, NY, Shmaltz founder/owner Jeremy Cowan hosted a special "Beer School" for attending craft beer enthusiasts, launching Jewbelation 20®. The hoopla continues nationwide with fellow "Class of '96" breweries throughout the holidays. And what would a true celebration be without the proper beers to mark this epic occasion?
Genesis ® -- Barrel-Aged Tart BarleywineFlowing from the bottle or tap, a rich beautiful mahogany glows deeply with a dense silky lace head. Aromas of currant, raisin, and toffee waft from the heavenly concoction, leaning towards port, sherry or cognac. The velvety mouthfeel of this burly beer collides on the tongue with pronounced flavors of dark chocolate and heavy fruits -- figs, dates, and ripe plum. Tart notes and a hint of wood emerge from the barrel aging process -- 10 months ensconced in the rye and bourbon barrels that also create Shmaltz's acclaimed sour blend, Funky Jewbelation®. A glorious opus.
Chanukah, Hanukkah...Pass the Beer® -- Golden Strong Ale with Cocoa NibsCandles won't be the only thing getting lit this year, with this bright caramel colored, golden strong ale. The fluffy white head releases notes of honey, chocolate, and harkens back to memories of Holiday gelt coins. 8 malts & 8 hops balance biscuit and toast with light peach smoothly dancing with the chocolate from the cocoa nibs and a hint of vanilla on the finish. The 8% ABV warms up both the season and this luscious libation.
Jewbelation 20® -- Dark American Strong AleMazel Tov -- it's a big beautiful bouncing barelywine! Shmaltz's Jewbelation® series vaults into adulthood with the 13th version of its acclaimed seasonal Anniversary offering. Not intended as an imperial porter or stout, Jewbelation 20® essentially stands as a triple brown ale. Pouring a dense mocha head, the color spans deep maroon to dark ruby. Flavors of this massive complex malt bill overflow with dark fruits -- bing cherry, raisins, currants, and figs. Pronounced notes of pumpernickel and dark chocolate, coffee roast and cherry wood dance with pounds and pounds of hops leading with citrus and stone fruit up front melding into a grassy earthiness on the finish. Rising to a beefy 16.8%, the alcohol feels more warming and welcoming than its percentage might suggest. A very complex anniversary ale worthy of being part of the Jewbelation family. A new Shmaltz score is born.
Shtick in a Box® -- Holiday Variety 12-PackThere's no junk in this box! Just in time for the holidays, Shmaltz releases the award winning Shtick in a Box® Holiday Variety 12-Pack. Shmaltz has somethin' real special to give you inside this package. Craft beer lovers will find three Shmaltz favorites and all World Beer Championship Gold Medal winners, Hop Manna IPA®, Slingshot American Craft Lager®, and Messiah Nut Brown Ale®, with a gift of the 2016 version of Chanukah, Hanukkah...Pass the Beer®. You won't even need to wrap this platinum award-winning package, unless it'd be for safety.
The grand finale is upon us -- The opus, the grand slam, the kind, the Score. With brewery favorites, Hop Manna IPA®, Slingshot American Craft Lager®, Messiah Nut Brown Ale®, and Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA®, over a dozen seasonals, special releases and collaborations, and now the lineup of behemoth anniversary beers, Genesis ® and Jewbelation 20®, the culmination of Shmaltz's 20th year overflows with unforgettable fermentables.
Turning 21 in 2017, Shmaltz is poised to pair its unique shtick with a diversified business model including innovative He'brew creations, the acquisition and expansion of its regional Alphabet City brand, the re-introduction of its hyperlocal upstate 518 & 838 series, as well as expanded contract brewing for respected regional producers.
Cheers to the first Score, and maybe 3 more and 7 years, of Shmaltz being true to its roots and singular in its niche -- the largest, the smallest, the most award winning, and still the only Jewish celebration brewery in the country -- and so much more. To Life... L'Chaim!
About Shmaltz Brewing CompanyFounder and owner Jeremy Cowan established Shmaltz Brewing in San Francisco in 1996. The first 100 cases of He'brew Beer® were hand-bottled and delivered throughout the Bay Area from the back of his Grandmother's Volvo. Shmaltz Brewing now sells Hebrew Beer across 35 states, through 40 wholesalers and in nearly 5,000 retailers.
After 17 years of being an outspoken cheerleader for contract brewing, Cowan and staff opened their own New York State production brewery in 2013 in Clifton Park, 10 minutes north of Albany. Shmaltz's home boasts a 50-barrel brewhouse with 30,000 barrels of annual capacity and packages a diverse and tasty variety of core and seasonal favorites in 12 and 22-ounce bottles and kegs. The Shmaltz Tasting Room is open five days a week (Wed-Sun) and offers tours, barrel-aged previews, beer-to-go, and special releases.
RateBeer.com ranked Shmaltz as one of the "Top 100 Brewers in the World" in 2013, and the brewery brought home 10 gold and 6 silver medals from the World Beer Championships in the past several years.
N.W. Beer Guide