contributed by Katy Morris
It began as a joke between Jeremy Cowan and his high school friends, who initially delivered 100 cases of hand-packaged bottles in his Bubbe’s Volvo beginning in the mid-nineties…a Jewish inspired, kosher beer!
Well, it turns out he was on to something. Today, He’Brew – The Chosen Beer, has evolved into an award-winning, top-ranked, uniquely kosher line of craft beer that produces 200,000 cases a year sold across 37 states through 30 wholesalers and thousands of retailers.
So what exactly does a Jewish-inspired beer entail (besides the clearly pun-y name and kosher certification)? All you really need to do is take one look at their shtick – which they have nailed.
Shmaltz Brewing Company consistently incorporates elements of Jewish tradition into their products using a playful (and subtly educational) blend of creative art, flavors, lingo, and historical facts.
Their extensive line of craft beers include the Genesis, Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale, and the Messiah Bold, and for each anniversary they debut a brand new Jewbelation variety to their offerings.
And how cool is this: they make sure that this new beer variety directly honors the anniversary year’s number by using the same number of alcohol, hops, and malts – a subtle sign of reverence to the importance of numerology in Judaism. They also throw some entertaining and interesting religious and multi-cultural facts related to that number right smack on the label.
Last year, they celebrated their 17-year anniversary of “Delicious Beer & Delicious Shtick” not only with Jewbelation Reborn (brewed with 17 malts, 17 hops, and 17% alcohol by volume, of course), but by building their own brewery in upstate New York where they will be packaging 12 and 22 ounce bottles, as well as kegs of all their varieties. If you are ever in town, consider joining them in their Tasting Room.
As for taste, of course this is original too. They’ve based their beers’ flavor profiles on none other than the grains and fruits that make up the Seven Species of the Hebrew Bible (Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale is a perfect example). Awesome.
Interested in learning more about He’Brew and Shmaltz Brewing Company? Visit their website at http://www.shmaltzbrewing.com/ or pick up Jeremy Cowan’s nationally launched book, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah: How It Took 13 Years, Extreme Jewish Brewing.
Current Beers in Production for 2014:
- Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale
- Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.
- Messiah Nut Brown Ale
- Hop Manna IPA
- Death of a Contract Brewer Black IPA
- Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale
- Barrel Aged R.I.P.A. on Rye
- Funky Jewbelation Barrel Aged Blend
- Rejewvenator Dubbel Doppel
- David’s Slingshot Hoppy American Lager
- St. Lenny’s Belgian R.I.P.A. Collaboration with Cathedral Square
- Reunion 2014 Collaboration with Terrapin
- Jewbelation 18 Anniversary Ale
- Mazel Hops Double IPA
- To be announced
Where can you get some in CT and NYC?
Fairway Wines in Stamford, CT
Mo’s Wine & Spirits in Fairfield, CT
Amity Wine & Spirits in New Haven, CT
Plan B Bar & Grill in Stamford, CT
Eli Cannons in Middletown, CT
The Cask Republic in New Haven, CT
Town Line Wine & Spirits in Stratford, CT
The Ginger Man in South Norwalk, CT
And for you die hard craft beer connoisseurs, here are a couple of upcoming local events that might be right up your alley:
- What: The Craft New York Rare Beer Festival Shmaltz will be one of 150 NY breweries present.
- When: June 5th; 6pm-10pm
- Price: $100/person
- What: The New York Harbor Craft Beer Sail Shmatlz is the featured NY brewery – you’ll get to taste 5 beers and learn beer tasting tips from a pro.
- When: June 21st OR June 22nd, 2014; Noon
- Price: $65/person
- What: St. Lenny’s Release at Eli Cannon’s Tap Room – Middletown, CT “Hannukah in July!” They’ll ” be celebrating a half-way point to the holiday season by having Hannukah in July and our second annual release of St. Lenny’s – a collaborative Rye Double IPA brewed with Trappist Yeast. We’ll have plenty of other offerings from Shlatz!”
- When: July 15th; 6pm-9pm
- Price: TBD
Thinking about serving some unique brew this summer? Let us know how you like He’Brew or if you check out any of these fun summer events. L’Chaim!
All photos courtesy of HeBrew.