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A Craft Beer Brand's Winning Recipe? Outsourcing By Anita Hamilton on August 20, 2012 Aug. 20, 2012 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek) -- Beer lover Jeremy Cowan hadn’t ever brewed a single batch of beer when he launched his craft beer company, Shmaltz Brewing, out of his Mission District loft in San Francisco in 1996. Instead, Cowan, then a technology purchasing manager at a startup, paid a local brewer $1,500 to make and bottle the first 100 cases. In a nod to his Jewish heritage, Cowan named the ale He’brew Genesis. His other contribution to “the chosen beer,” as its tagline reads: the juice from eight crates of pomegranates, which he and a few friends squeezed by hand the night before the inaugural brew. The Kosher-certified beer sold out in three weeks at high-end grocery stores in the Bay Area. In 2003, after trying out a few local contract brewers, Cowan struck a deal with Olde Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a subsidiary of storied Mendocino Brewing, to make his brews. (It had extra capacity, and Cowan had enough to pay for 2,800 cases, thanks to a $30,000 cash advance on his credit card.) Olde Saratoga now makes all 15 of Shmaltz’s varieties, which are available in 31 states, as well as Canada, Australia, and Japan. That’s wider distribution than established craft competitors such as Bell’s, Deschutes, and New Belgium. “[The brewmaster] and I collaborate very directly on the flavors of every beer we make, but the manufacturing nittygritty details are less romantic to me,” says Cowan, who expects $3 million in revenue this year. So why is Cowan, who splits his time between New York City and San Francisco, opening his own brewery in Brooklyn, N.Y., this fall? The one-word answer: marketing. It will serve as a gathering place for his “tribe” (as he calls Shmaltz fans) to sample all his beers, including his Coney Island lagers, in one place. “The allure of putting a small batch brewery in the center of the biggest city in the U.S. and one of the fastest-growing craft beer scenes far outweighs the risk,” the Stanford English major explains. Olde Saratoga will still handle nearly all of Shmaltz’s brewing—currently more than 2 million bottles a year. For an industry that trumpets the artisanal process and local origins of its independent brewers (Merriam-Webster added its definition of craft beer earlier this month) Shmaltz has been an unlikely hit. It was named the best craft brewer in the country by Beverage World magazine in 2010 and has won 14 gold and silver medals in the World Beer Championships in the past three years. And unlike many of the 2,126 craft breweries the Brewers Association says make up the $8.7 billion industry in the U.S., Cowan says Shmaltz has been profitable since 2005. “A lot of brewers today started as homebrewers,” says Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the trade group. “They started brewpubs or tap rooms so they could be in touch with people in their own tasting room.” She notes that only 2 percent of the more than 11 million barrels of craft beer produced in the U.S. in 2011 were contract brewed. Despite the decades-old reputation contract brews have had for being second-rate compared with other craft brews, Cowan chose the contract route because it was cheaper than buying a brewery, which starts around $30,000 and can exceed $1 million. “I didn’t have the money for it,” says Cowan, now 43. “There was no other way to do it.” Instead he focused on sales, distribution, and resolving problems such as patent disputes with potential rivals and finding hops during the 2008 “hop crisis” (when prices more than quintupled due to supply shortages). Of course, outsourcing production created its own hurdles. Because he had to split the proceeds with his brewer, Cowan’s margins were too slim to turn a profit for the first eight years of business. To make ends meet, he maxed out his credit cards, borrowed $135,000 from friends and family, and couch-surfed at friends’ houses while on sales calls across the country. Even after he broke even in 2004, thanks to rising sales and higher profit margins that came from raising prices on his product, he still couldn’t get a business loan because he had no collateral in the form of property or equipment, he recalls in his 2011 memoir, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. “Banks wouldn’t touch it,” says Cowan. Today, wary of the recent doubling of hops prices, Cowan is cautiously optimistic about Shmaltz’s prospects. He has 11 employees, a line of credit with a bank, and enough cash to stay in discount hotel rooms he books on Priceline. And while he remains passionate about craft beer, he’ll still get someone else to make it, 16 years after Shmaltz’s genesis.!


December'4,'2012' ' !


Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Beer, Wine, and Spirits Holiday stress can drive even the most temperate soul to drink, which is why alcohol is usually a safe gift. Of course, our pals in the booze industry make it difficult to select the proper potable by rolling out a mind-boggling number of festive products around this time every year. We bet you and yours will gleefully guzzle down the seasonal beers, whiskeys, wines, vodkas, rums, and tequilas we've helpfully singled out below. By Tobey Grumet For Jewish Jokers He'Brew Holiday Gift Pack Shmaltz Brewing Company bills its He'Brew line as "The Chosen Beer" and gives its sudsy concoctions such groan-inducing names as Genesis, Messiah, and Jewbelation. But the Holiday Gift Pack, which collects eight crazy nights' worth of craft ales, transcends the shtick, even as it offers no end of it. Aside from the beer, you get a custom glass and instructions on how to build your very own beer-bottle menorah. Insert joke about getting lit here. $30 !


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MJ Approved: Food & Drink

Coney Island's Malty, German-Style Lager Coney&Island&Human&Blockhead&Imperial&American&Bock& A traditional dobbelbock is a strong malty German-style lager made from only barley, hops, and water. In fact, since 1516 Duke Wilhelm IV's Beer Purity Law of 1516 those were the only ingredients allowed in any German beer (they didn't realize that they were also using yeast until Louis Pasteur discovered its role in 1857). Shmaltz Brewing Company, out of Brooklyn, New York, cheerfully treads all over this tradition by aging a supercharged doppelbock in a bourbon barrel. Like most doppelbocks, Human Blockhead is a deep, powerful malt bomb. There are caramel and raisin notes with just enough underlying bitterness to maintain a steady balance. That's where German tradition ends and American inspiration begins. The beer clocks in at a hefty 10 percent alcohol – huge even by doppelbock standards. The barrel aging softens the flavor, though, and lends a vanilla note, but the bigger contribution comes from the bourbon that was the barrel's prior resident. It integrates nicely, and while there's some warmth from the alcohol there's none of the whiskey burn that can haunt beers of this style. While a beer this unencumbered by tradition might inspire an imitation of the sideshow performer on the label (who, true to the Coney Island Show, is driving a nail into his face), we recommend a more measured approach. Split a 22-ounce bomber bottle with a friend and enjoy it with some proscuitto, gruyere cheese, and a nice hunk of bread. –Chris Pagnotta

Shmaltz Brings the Funk with Funky Jewbelation Andrew Nagy! Posted: July 20, 2012 Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Funky Jewbelation, the newest addition to its Limited Engagement Barrel-Aged series, mashes together six beers aged for varying times in rye and bourbon barrels and is now available in stores. The liquids used to create Funky Jewbelation, which pairs well with a flavorful mild- to medium-bodied cigar, have been aged for anywhere between one to 14 months. Jeremy Cowan, owner of Shmaltz, says that 73 percent of the blend saw time in whiskey barrels originally used for Sazerac Six-Year-Old Rye Whiskey, while the other 27 percent was aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels. This barrel-aging process imparts hints of vanilla and toast into Funky Jewbelation, which, if it had to be defined, borders somewhere between a porter and black cascade IPA. In addition, the Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale used in the blend adds a healthy dose of the distinctive dark fruit to the beer’s flavor. The beer carries a high alcohol content, too, making it a good candidate for aging. According to Cowan, as Funky Jewbelation ages, the brew’s sour and earthy farmhouse notes will become more evident while the chocolate sweetness rounds out and slowly fades away. In all, the beer combines liquid from Shmaltz’s Jewbelation 15 (aged three months), Vintage Jewbelation (aged nine months), Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. (aged one month), Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale (aged 14 months), Reunion Ale '11 (aged seven months) and Messiah Nut Brown Ale (aged 14 months). Known for its edgy marketing and category-defying beers, Shmaltz Brewing was established in San Francisco in 1996, and now brews its beers in Saratoga Springs, New York. While Funky Jewbelation is a limited release, it still can be found in 35 states (for a complete list, see and will be available on limited draft. Funky Jewbelation (9.8 percent alcohol by volume, $13 for 22 oz. bottle) APPEARANCE: Pours black like a heavy porter, with the slightest tinge of red. A tan head, about a finger deep, develops from the pour but soon dissipates. Little to no lacing. AROMA: Strong bouquet of cherry and black currant with hints of vanilla, toffee, grapefruit and chocolate nibs. PALATE: A tart hit of pomegranate and cherries on the start turns into an elegant blend of milk chocolate, espresso and toffee at the midpalate. A citrusy, bubble-gum finish coats the mouth, lingering until the next welcomed sip. CIGAR PAIRING: My Father Flor de las Antillas Robusto (90 points, Cigar Insider) The beer plays well with this Nicaraguan puro, ramping up the sweetness of the smoke into more of a nougat flavor. Solid interplay between the two.

November 14, 2012 Wine and Beer Guide Whether you are raising your glass for a toast, or pouring it into a stock pot, wine and beer are equally great for cooking and enjoying. Best American Craft Beers Since the craft beer revolution started, microbrewers have been producing beers with tremendous flavor and diversity. These 50 are tasty, highly-rated, and definitely worth a try. By: Michelle Klug

50 Craft Beers If you need proof we are in the midst of a beer revolution, you need only take a look at your local grocery stores, liquor shops, and bars that hold such a large craft beer selection, it can make you head spin. Craft beer sales and the number of microbreweries opening nationwide continue to rise each year, and are certainly making an impact in the American food and beverage world. Just like artisan foods and wines, craft beer is defined as being of independent and small nature: Craft breweries are not owned by any large industries and only produce a certain amount of beer per year. These 50 beers have made a name for themselves in the craft beer market, and for good reason – they are divine.

Coney Island Lager The least-plain lager around; light malts and hops, slightly fruity Brewery: Shmatlz Brewing Co. Style: Amber Lager Alcohol: 5.5% He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A Rye and tart citrus hops, boozy, bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit flavor Brewery: Shmatlz Brewing Co. Style: Imperial India Pale Ale Alcohol: 10%!




8 Beers for 8 Nights By Hannah Rubin

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 sensitivelybeer-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: 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 Imperial 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.





By Mat Falco December 2012/January 2013

! One of the classic traditions of Hanukkah is setting up the menorah and lighting candles each night to commemorate the eight days of celebration and remembrance. With hopes of taking this tradition to the next level and adding a bit of extra excitement, we bring you the beer bottle menorah. Inspired by the annual release of the He’brew Brewing Jewbelation series gift pack, the menorah is a fun with beer idea that you can put as much creativity into as you choose. With the consumption of your favorite beers, it is sure to make Hanukkah an even more memorable celebration.!

What You Need: * 16 Beers * 9 menorah candles (or more depending on how long you have them lit) * Bottle opener * Kitchen lighter

What To Do: Step 1: Pick out eight special beers to commemorate each day of Hanukkah or pick up one of the pre-chosen gift packs with menorah candles included! Step 2: Get eight sessionable beers. This is the beer you’ll drink each day, so make sure it’s one you like. Step 3: Get a menorah stand fitting for beer bottles or pick a designated area to set-up your bottles. Step 4: Arrange your nine different beers in the shape of the menorah. The sessionable beer you’ve chosen will take the place of the Shamash. We recommend aligning them in order of appeal and save the most desired beer for the last night of Hanukkah. Step 5: Each night, gently pry open your Shamash beer, being sure not to bend the cap. Then, consume your chosen beer. Step 6: Once consumed, place the cap back on the bottle. Step 7: Heat the bottom of your Shamash candle until it starts melting and then press it on the top of the Shamash beer. Hold until the wax hardens and the candle stands freely atop the bottle. Step 8: Light the Shamash. Step 9: Gently open your first night of Hanukkah beer, consume and replace the cap. Step 10: Once again, you will take the same steps to melt the candle on top of the beer. Once complete, take the Shamash and use it to light the night one beer candle. Step 11: Repeat each step throughout the eight days of Hanukkah. Being that you use the Shamash every night, we feel it is fitting that you drink a Shamash beer to start off each night as well. Step 12: On the last night of Hanukkah, take a picture of your full lit beer menorah and send it to It might just end up in the next issue!

December 17, 2012 - With Christmas tunes, ugly sweaters and tacky plastic reindeer out in full force, it seems it’s time again to blend up some rum-spiked eggnog—but today, I’m going to stoke up a different sort of holiday spirit: really strong beer. ‘Tis the season, after all. We often see a spike in the number of extra potent beers about now, the common notion being that a touch more alcohol will warm the bones on cold nights. “High-alcohol” beers, by some standards, might include 6 or 7 percent alcohol by volume holiday releases, like Deschutes Brewing’s Jubelale, Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome and Marin Brewing’s Hoppy Holidaze, and if you’re a regular sipper of light lagers, these seasonal beers are festive enough. But it’s the ludicrously potent, double-digit beers that I’m thinking of now—beers with attitude, charisma, strength, flavor, culture and, especially, spirit. He’Brew Jewbelation Sweet 16 from Shmaltz Brewing. What? You don’t believe a fat man in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer delivers billions of presents around the world every December 24? Yeah—it does seem sometimes like a grand parental hoax. But far from being left out in the cold this winter, you just might be enjoying the best specialty drink of all: an extreme Hanukkah ale called Jewbelation, brewed by the Shmaltz Brewing Company in upstate New York. The beer, released this month, commemorates the 16th anniversary of the brewery’s birth. The anniversary series began with Shmaltz’s eighth, when the beer was made with eight kinds of hops, eight malts and to 8 percent ABV. In following years, the numbers pattern was maintained—and now, Jewbelation has morphed into a 16 percent ABV giant. It’s dark brown and easy to love for anyone with a small glass and a taste for brownies, chocolate and coffee. One bottle contains 480 calories, so divvy this one between friends—and if you believe in him, don’t leave it for Santa: There’s a lot of skinny chimneys out there. !

New brews at Kenny & Ziggy's By Allison Wollam, Apr 18, 2012 There’s some new suds to sip at Kenny & Ziggy’s. The authentic New York delicatessen is now serving up brews from San Francisco’s Jewish-owned craft beermaker, Shmaltz Brewing Co. Among “the chosen beers” from Shmaltz’s now available at the deli are Coney Island Lager, Coney Island Albino Python, He’brew Genesis and He’brew Origin. Founded by Jeremy Cowan in 1996, Shmaltz Brewing Co. did go against traditional thought that beer sales had never made much headway in Jewish circles. But, Cowan has detailed research to back him up that traditional thought was wrong. “As I’ve said for years, and as we know from experience, the Jewish fraternity guys, like my father, probably drink just as much beer as the non-Jewish fraternities next door,” he said. Now the company’s many beers are distributed in more than 30 states and sold through 3,000-plus retailers. Cowan even penned a book about his adventures dubbed “How it took 13 years, Extreme Jewish Brewing, and Circus Sideshow Freaks to make Shmaltz Brewing Company an International Success.” !

The great Hanukkah gift debate How best to spread out the presents over eight nights December 07, 2012 by Charles Passy Hanukkah may not hold a candle to Christmas in terms of pop culture and pageantry. But as Adam Sandler pointed out in his hit “Hanukkah Song,” the holiday, which starts on Saturday, does offer children one advantage: “Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.” For Jewish parents, however, Hanukkah’s week-and-a-day duration poses an annual conundrum: how to divvy up the gifts. Should there be eight nights of equally weighted surprises — or should there be emphasis placed on a particular night for more significant presents? And if it’s the latter, what day counts the most? The first? The last? Or even the fifth? (Yes, there’s a reason why the fifth night could top them all.) “There is no consensus,” says Ricky Cohen, a Jewish entrepreneur who’s an adjunct teacher at New York’s Baruch College. Not only is there no agreement, there’s almost a kind of pride in the confusion generated by the holiday. Indeed, many Jews believe the Hanukkah conundrum speaks to the essence of their faith and culture.

“Some might say we’re an overanalyzing people, but I think that’s a positive thing” when it comes to Hanukkah, says Jeremy Cowan, who heads Shmaltz Brewing Company, a craft producer of kosher beer. “It leaves room for your own way to celebrate.” Of course, the confusion also stems from the fact that Hanukkah, which traditionally falls near or around Christmas, is not a holiday that comes with a lot of rules or specifics — at least in a religious sense — short of the lighting of the menorah. In fact, it’s a minor event on the Jewish calendar, especially when compared with the likes of Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Passover. And while a tradition of giving children money (“gelt,” in Yiddish) has been a part of Hanukkah for a few centuries, the present-buying mania is a relatively new development. The obvious reason for it? “As Christmas has grown commercially, Hanukkah has kept stride so Jewish kids don’t feel left out,” says Lesleigh Cushing, an associate professor of religion and Jewish studies at Colgate University. But in Christian homes, there’s not a whole lot to debate about gift-giving — except maybe the question of whether to open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In Jewish households, Hanukkah multiplies the possibilities by virtue of its eight-day spread. For some Jewish families, the tradition is indeed equally weighted gifts — often small items — with one per night for the eight nights. The approach works especially well with younger children, says Richie Frieman, an etiquette expert (he calls himself the Modern Manners Guy). The idea is that children simply like a present, regardless of its size or significance. “Little kids don’t (distinguish) what’s ‘big’ in value versus what they like to play with,” says Frieman. But with other families, a big gift — and a big-gift night — is the way to go. Still, that leaves the question of which night. While the first evening is an obvious choice, going that route often has an unintended consequence of devaluing the rest of the holiday, particularly if other nights incorporate small or token gifts — say, the old-school Hanukkah present of a pair of socks. It’s the religious equivalent of the law of diminishing returns, says Gary Frisch, a New Jersey public relations professional. And Frisch is convinced it’s a hopelessly outdated approach to celebrating the holiday. “My kids would revolt if they got socks for Hanukkah,” Frisch says. Another option, of course: starting with small gifts on the first night and building up to a grand finale on the eighth evening. Cohen favors this approach from a religious perspective, too — he says that inherent in the idea of Hanukkah is the idea of raising Jewish identification and awareness. And it’s an idea that’s designed to “grow” during the course of the holiday, as symbolized by the lighting of an additional candle on every successive evening. So just as there’s more light, there should be bigger presents: “We raise the level of celebration each night,” he says. But for still others, it’s the fifth night that stands as the most symbolic — and the best suited to gift-giving. That’s because it’s the first evening that the majority of the candles on the menorah are lit, explains Rabbi Motti Seligson of, a website devoted to Jewish news and information. “The night symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness,” says Rabbi Seligson.

September 10, 2012

Greenwood Park hosts Freaktoberfest BY WILL BREDDERMAN for The Brooklyn Paper

It’s that time of year again — Freaktober! A German-style fall beer party with a wicked Coney Island twist is coming to the spacious beer garden of Greenwood Park in Greenwood Heights. The original idea for the five-hour debauch of unlimited beer-tasting, burlesque dancers, indie bands, and good old-fashioned freaks was born out of the brain of Jeremy Cowan, the man behind He’Brew beer and Coney Island lager, who brewed up the first Freaktoberfest in 2007 at Dick Zigun’s Sideshows by the Seashore. “They asked if we wanted to work together, and we jumped at the chance,” Cowan said. “We wanted to have a beer festival that combined our favorite things about craft lager with outrageous performers and great bands.” The alcohol-fueled weirdo rager was such a success, Cowan decided to do it again — and again, and again, and again. This year, he picked the new Greenwood Park beer garden after falling elbows-over-knees for location’s large space. “They’ve got a great design, a great vibe. The bar is spectacular and the outdoor space is incredible,” Cowan said. “And they’re in a neighborhood that’s been extremely supportive of craft beer.” And even though the event has moved away from its Coney Island venue, the Freaktoberfest’s master of ceremonies will be the ever-popular freak performer Donny Vomit — the face of one of brewmaster Cowan’s specialty beers, and a “human blockhead action hero,” in his words. Besides driving a six-inch nail into his nasal cavity, Vomit will oversee the array of sideshow acts featured at the festivity. “Every year I try to bring interesting performer friends of the beautiful and bizarre to entertain the beer-loving crowds,” Vomit said, promising two lovely lady dancers, a juggler, and an appearance by Evil Hate Monkey, on top of a display of his own talents. The bizarre beer fest will also showcase numerous native New York libations, including special creations from Brooklyn Brewery, Six Point, and Kelso — plus entries from Dogfish and Victory breweries. Freaktoberfest at Greenwood Park (555 Seventh Ave. at 19th Street, in Greenwood Heights, Sept. 15, 12–5 pm. $60.



An insider’s guide to Coney Island, Brooklyn

Coney Island Brewing Company The cozy Coney Island Brewing Company (3008 W. 12th St., at Surf Ave.) opened last year as "The World’s Smallest Brewery," producing just 1 gallon of suds per batch. "We want people to come in, cool off and try some beer," says brewer Morgan Fishback. The shop also sells bottles of Coney Island Craft Lagers and HE'BREW Beers made elsewhere. 

CONEY ISLAND CRAFT LAGERS August 10, 2012 - Carnival-style labeling meets microbrew mastery in these Coney Island Craft Lagers. These awardwinning beers include a traditional Lager, Mermaid Pilsner, Albino Python white lager, Sword Swallower IPA-style lager, and the seasonal Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead American bock. They're worth picking up if for no reason than the labels themselves (and the 10.83% ABV in the Blockhead).!



! BEER$OF$THE$WEEK$ Coney$Island$Barrel6Aged$Human$Blockhead$$ August$21,$2012$$ by$Greg$Barbera$


Classified as an imperial bock, Coney Island took Human Blockhead and aged it for five months on Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. And the result is nothing less than stellar. The beer pours a deep ruby with a thick, beige head that very slowly dissipates. Huge dried fruit notes (dates, fig) greet the nose but plum is the most prevalent. A big, bock malt bill makes this beer sweet. It has a melted caramel and cherry mouthfeel and a craisin scone-accentuated finish (with slight hints of vanilla from the barrel aging). This is fantastic. Don’t pass it up.!

Enjoy Barrel-Aged Brew and Beer Cocktails with Shmaltz Brewing August 20, 2012 - Those nice Jewish boys at Shmaltz Brewing are always up to something. One day they're concocting a recipe for a Pumpernickel Bagel Porter, the next day they're opening the "world's smallest brewery," pumping out craft lagers one gallon at a time next door to the Coney Island Circus Slideshow. The brewery, one of the newest inductees to the San Francisco Brewer's Guild, certainly knows a thing or two about chutzpa. They also have a knack for adapting to trends in brewing culture. A few years ago, Shmaltz picked up the barrel-aging torch and never looked back. Their line of brews aged in used spirits barrels (particularly bourbon and rye whiskey) have garnered awards and held the attention of beer geeks from coast to coast. This week, the chosen ones are set to release one of the finest beers in the Coney Island line of lagers: Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead. While most lagers arouse preconceived notions of light, crisp summery beer, this one belies expectations. The doppelbock style beer is cold fermented like a lager, but the finished products resembles a rich barleywine. Extended aging in still-wet Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels lends pronounced notes of vanilla and oak to the layered flavors of brown sugar, raisins, and caramel. On Tuesday, you'll have the chance to try the beer side-by-side with its non barrel-aged counterpart. Other tap offerings will include Mermaid rye pilsner and Albino Python, a white lager spiced with fennel seed, orange peel, and ginger. The release will be at Blackbird, whose bar staff has collaborated with Shmaltz to create two beer cocktails for the event. The first, "Two Shots and a Beer," uses a syrup reduction of the Human Blockhead beer to impart a sweet toasted malt flavor that hints at the origins of both the beer and the whiskey. The cocktail is rounded out with scotch, Fernet, and Cardamaro. The second cocktail, "Oaxacan Boardwalk," amps up the ginger notes in Albino Python with the addition of Canton ginger liqueur. See the recipe for the cocktail and details for the event below. Everything is kosher, so feel free to bring your bubbie. Shmaltz Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead Release Where: Blackbird, 2124 Market St. (at Church), (415) 503-0630 When: Aug. 21, 7 - 10 p.m. Cost: pay per drink What: Great beer and well-made cocktails, without any Jewish guilt. Try the Oaxacan Boardwalk cocktail, then try to replicate it at home: 1oz Vida Mezcal .5 oz Canton Ginger .5 oz lemon .5 oz lime Top with Albino Python float !

OUR CELLAR IN: 3 special releases Today, we’re socking away three limited-release beers that are particularly difficult not to open. Thank goodness our “cellar” cabinets have opaque doors, so these bottles don’t taunt us with the (probably) delicious stuff inside. Shmaltz He’Brew Funky Jewbelation: How’d they even get all of this information onto one label? Here’s the breakdown: This bottle’s a blend of 6 beers: 3-month-old Jewbelation Fifteen, a vintage Jewbelation that aged 9 months, a one-month-old Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA, a 14-month-old Origin, 2011 Reunion Ale aged 7 months, and Messiah, aged 14 months. The blend was then aged further, with 73 percent in rye whiskey barrels and 27% in bourbon barrels. The result is a 9.8%-ABV behemoth we plan to age for at least a couple years. Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog: We recently chatted with brewer Peter Egelston on the story of Olive, the dog on Smuttynose’s flagship brown ale, Old Brown Dog. Really Old Brown Dog is a second tribute to the dearly departed dog, an old ale that’s been brewed since 2007. Boulevard Rye-on-Rye: Boulevard’s 11%-ABV rye ale is partly aged in Templeton Rye barrels; an excellent candidate for the cellar, though we can’t say we’ve ever aged a rye beer before. (Have you? Any thoughts?) Particularly noteworthy is the fact that this beer—part of the brewery’s Smokestack Series—won’t be available again until 2014. Side note: We love that brewers are helping us cellarfolk keep track of dates and such. Smuttynose’s bottle has a notch spot for the bottling year (see right), while Boulevard’s has a batch number and “best by” date in addition to the bottle number (ours is 13050) on the front label. It’d be even cooler if brewers did like Shmaltz and indicated the bottling date and batch or bottle number—on every beer, particularly those that are aged before their release. A cellar rat can dream…

Soaking Up the Suds by James Crane ‘Jewbelation’ indeed! For many of my favorite breweries, I can pick the beer that put them under my radar. There’s usually a certain brew that makes me realize that they have something special. With more and more breweries popping up, it’s harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. It’s not enough to make a solid beer anymore. It has to be unique and distinctive if it wants to be in the big leagues. For Shmaltz, it was their Bitter Sweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. It was an imperial IPA brewed with rye, which gave it some incredible character. It was sweet and spicy and strong. Though I had some brews from their Coney Island series of lagers, the R.I.P.A. was what put them over the top. It blew my mind just a bit. This week, I’m returning to Shmaltz and their He’brew line of beers to try their Funky Jewbelation. Whoever comes up with the names for their brews deserves an award. Whoever comes up with the recipes behind them deserves a bigger one. Funky Jewbelation is their sixth barrel aged release and quite an adventurous one at that. The bottle has a lot going on inside it. Thankfully, it’s nice enough to tell you what you’re about to swallow. Funky Jewbelation is a blend of ales. How many ales you ask? Six. That is correct; six different ales. You may think that is already funky enough, but Shmaltz apparently came to party. These six ales were aged in 72 percent rye whiskey barrels and 27 percent bourbon barrels. That is a lot of barrels and even more math. They brought together their Jewbelation Fifteen, Vintage Jewlbelation, Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., Origin, Reunion Ale ’11, and Messiah together like a team of super heroes ready to save the world. The pour was impressive. The beer was black as they come with about a finger and a half worth of head that never really went away. One could tell form the way it splashed into the glass that it was thick and syrupy. This one wasn’t playing around. Primarily, it smelled of booze and molasses with hints of dark fruit lingering in it. It was just a little bit like alcoholic prunes. There is the slight bit of fermented funk to the scent as well, which was not displeasing. Everything about it was promising that this would be a big beer. The taste did not disappoint. It was huge. At first, you’re buffeted by insane amounts of sweetness. It’s like fruit and brown sugar mixed with bananas. Then, rolling right on the heels of that is the barrel aged smokiness. It’s a bit like a campfire or a cigar. This gives way to a boozy burn, more prune-like flavors, and finally a little bit of malt and hop combo. I had trouble telling where one sensation ended and another began. This beer is not a delicate mixing of refined flavors. It’s a circus of bold acts and you’re drinking out of the same fountain as the rest of the carnies. That is to say, you may not know what’s going on, but you do know you like it. If all this wasn’t good enough, Funky Jewbelation clocks in 9.8 percent ABV. It’s big, it’s strong, and it packs a punch. This is one to share and savor, and you’ll be glad you did. Try it. It might be the reason you fall in love with Shmaltz yourself.

Beer of the Day: He'brew Funky Jewbelation SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

With a name like He'brew Funky Jewbelation ($13 for 22 ounces) and a whopping 9.8-percent ABV to boot, we're not sure what has us giggling more about this robustly flavored beverage. He'brew turned tradition on its head with this blended beer, which gets its nuanced flavor from a mishmash of six of their ales, including Origin (a pomegranate ale), Messiah (a nut-brown ale), Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. (a double-strength IPA), Reunion (a dark imperial ale), Jewbelation Fifteen (made from 15 varieties each of hops and malt), and Vintage Jewbelation. To top things off, this hybrid creature is then further aged in rye whiskey and bourbon barrels. All in all, it could've been a disastrous proposition, but in this brewmaster's skilled hands, the result is a beer with great depth and nuanced flavor. This molasses-hued beer reminded us of deep-dark pumpernickel bread, teriyaki sauce, and root beer. Despite its deep-dark hue and high alcohol content, this full-bodied beer goes down smoothly and would pair particularly well with salty, sharp cheeses like gruyere or cheddar. We're also dreaming of braising meat in it or employing this sweet, savory brew in beer-can chicken.

Craft Brew Review: Funky Jewbelation: A New Barrel Aged Brew From The Folks At He'Brew By Lisa McLaughlin on April 18, 2012

The quirky brewmeisters at Shmaltz Brewing Company are the creators of some of our favorite craft beers. Best known for blurring the boundaries of beer styles and their punny, pop culture laden names and labels, Shmaltz brews include HE’BREW Beer and the sideshow-inspired Coney Island Craft Lagers. Their latest offering is the limited edition barrel-aged Funky Jewbelation. The bottle’s a blend of 6 beers: 3-month-old Jewbelation Fifteen, a vintage Jewbelation that aged 9 months, a onemonth-old Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA, a 14-month-old Origin, 2011 Reunion Ale aged 7 months, and Messiah, aged 14 months. The blend was then aged further, with 73% in rye whiskey barrels and 27% in bourbon barrels. The result is a 9.8%-ABV behemoth that packs a punch in more ways than one. The beer is indeed funky, in all the right ways. It pours out dark, deep and mahogany with a medium tan head and strong whiff of spirits. Things start out sweet and sticky, with hints of chocolate, caramel and vanilla but then take a balanced turn towards tart with notes of booze, barrel, bitter and what one taster described as "blood." Not in the gory Twilight or True Blood way, but you know how when you eat marrow you get those fleeting moments of mellifluent metallic, iron-y taste in your mouth? Funky Jewbelation is exactly like that. Definitely a sipping beer to be served in a snifter.



Hoppy Holidays! Get into the spirit with these tasty seasonal suds. Published on Dec 10, 2012 BY MIKE DAWSON & LAUREN BUZZEO

Jewbelation Sweet 16, Shmaltz Brewing Co. Many wrote Shmaltz off as a gimmicky outfit when it came out with its hilarious He’Brew: The Chosen Beer in 1996. Sixteen years and several awards later, Shmaltz is a fixture at Whole Foods. This year’s Hanukkah brew pays homage to its Bday, infusing 16 different malts and 16 strains of hops to create a 16%-abv beer with dark chocolate, toffee and blueberry notes.!

Craft Beer Muses 12 Beers of Christmas By Don Russell Whatever you think about Christmas, you’ve got to agree that it is mankind’s greatest, most enduring tradition. Yes, it’s over-commercialized and most of the world doesn’t even celebrate it, but, you’ve gotta give props to any institution that’s been around for 2,000 years—especially one that comes with so much good craft beer. Now, some will protest: “Ah, Christmas beer—a blatant commercialization of a sacred, family tradition just to sell more suds.” Indeed, for years after Prohibition, breweries were generally prohibited from using Christmas, especially jolly, old St. Nicholas, to advertise their brands. Just six years ago, the state of Maine grumbled “Bah, humbug!” to a brand whose label depicted Santa Claus, and declared it “undignified and improper.” But in fact, beer has always been a part of Christmas. Before Prohibition, German immigrants brewed special, dark lagers for the holiday. Before that, the English served homemade wassail (spiced ale) to Dickensian carolers singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” In the Middle Ages, observant monks brewed their finest, strongest beer to mark the birth of Christ. Around 900 AD, as Norwegians converted to Christianity, they brought along their smoky Viking Jul (Yule) ale. At the risk of finding coal in my stocking, I’d argue that Christmas beer is older than Christmas itself. Whether the date is divine or not, the traditions surrounding the holidays— gift giving, feasting and, yes, beer drinking—has evolved into the celebrations of Christmas. Which is why I say Christmas beer is not a style, it’s a tradition. It needn’t be spicy or strong, sweet or dark; it need only be special, a gift to be shared in the spirit of the holiday with family and friends. Everyone has a favorite craft beer of the season. Here are 12 that are jingling my bells this year.

Jewbelation Sweet 16 He’Brew The Chosen Beer New York, NY At 16 percent alcohol, this brown ale (made with 16 different malts and hops) will surely spin your dreidel no matter what your faith.

The 12 Beers of Christmas By Scott Mansfield on December 18, 2012

Although we celebrate holidays throughout the year, we reserve the term "holiday season" for that belt-busting period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when we channel the time and energy normally given to work into the rewarding pursuits of eating and drinking with family and friends. And with Hanukkah just ending, the next milestone on this year’s calendar is Christmas Eve. For beer lovers, this is a prime opportunity to enjoy the dark and hearty ales that traditionally mark this occasion. As we did last year, we’ve asked several local beer experts this question: If someone were visiting you on Christmas Eve, what beer would you most like to see them bring? Jesse Friedman, Cofounder at Almanac Beer: Each year, Shmaltz Brewing releases an anniversary beer for Hanukkah with one more of everything. For its Jewbelation Sweet 16, the beer has 16 malts, 16 hops and 16% ABV. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but instead it comes together as a dark, complex and surprisingly quaffable brew. It's also the perfect pain reliever for family overload. !

December 6, 2012

This week, we're continuing our focus on rich brews for the holiday season. But, instead of your standard spiced Christmas ale, we're celebrating a beer best enjoyed while spinning a dreidel under the light of a menorah. The brew is also a celebration of the "sweet 16th" anniversary of one of our homegrown breweries. So, it's certainly appropriate to break out a quinceanera-esque dress AND a yarmulke while enjoying this new offering from Shmaltz Brewing. Following in the tradition of previous iterations of the Jewbelation series, the beer builds on past editions while increasing complexity and alcohol content. Shmaltz managed to squeeze 16 malts and 16 hop varieties into the brew, with a whopping 16% ABV. Needless to say, the beer isn't for the faint of heart. Unless you're seeking a raucous Chanukah night, you might consider splitting this bottle with a friend. The brew is viscous, boozy, and layered. If you can find a brandy snifter and a fireplace, you can certainly make a night out of this beer. The beer pours deep brown with a thin mocha head. Aromas of roasted malt and dark fruits jump out of the glass. Flavors of dark chocolate, caramel, and molasses dominate the experience, with a slight alcohol burn in the finish. As the beer warms, notes of tobacco and leather come to the fore. If there was ever a good time to start smoking cigars, it might be in tandem with this beverage. This beer pairs nicely with dark chocolate, or would be an interesting partner with a caramel flan or tres leches cake. Jewbelation Sweet 16 is on the shelves at better beer stores now. For a shot at trying the beer on draft alongside other Shmaltz rarities, head to Beer Revolution this weekend: Shmaltz 16 Chosen Bars Event Where: Beer Revolution, 464 3rd St., Oakland When: December 8, 6-9pm Cost: pay per drink What: Shmaltz chose 16 bars through the country to partake in a tap takeover. 16 awardwinning Shmaltz brews will be on tap alongside cupcakes and other treats.!


In the Red Coney Island Craft Lagers introduces Freaktoberfest beer

This fall, Coney Island Craft Lagers isn't letting summer's fun go without a fight. Devoted to making good beers but committed to merriment, this brewery has just debuted its blood-red beer, Freaktoberfest (a four-pack of 12 oz. bottles; $10). Owner Jeremy Cowan felt that there was no need for another Oktoberfest beer. But a truered lager? That was another matter. Playing off the “oddities and freak shows” of Coney Island boardwalk Americana, he’s created a craft beer as unusual as it is food-friendly and refreshing. Six different malts and six different hops go into Freaktoberfest, which has a head like a black cherry soda. In its fourth year of production, the beer uses a different recipe each autumn, and this year’s is hoppier and more bewitching than ever. More fun: Cowan informs us that Shmaltz Brewing Company (which encompasses both He’brew Beers and Coney Island Craft Lagers) will launch a seven-barrel brewery and tasting room this year in Brooklyn “somewhere between Gowanus and Bushwick.” Hop to it. Find Coney Island Freaktoberfest on draft at The Pony Bar, Fourth Avenue Pub, Mission Dolores and Barcade, and bottled at Fairway, Bierkraft and New Beer Distributors through Halloween.!

Shmaltz 2012 Year In Review  

What people had to say about Shmaltz Brewing Company in 2012

Shmaltz 2012 Year In Review  

What people had to say about Shmaltz Brewing Company in 2012