He’Brew Jewbelation Sweet Sixteen – The Tribe Has Spoken

Haven't seen much of Long lately

Long Duck Dong in 16 Candles

I know what you’re thinking (which is even more impressive than it seems because I don’t even have a clue how I’m going to end this sentence).  What is Long Duck Dong doing as a lead photo for a beer review?  Simple.  This isn’t a traditional beer review.  There are plenty of great craft beer review sites and blogs that focus on reviews but this isn’t one of them.  Its not that I don’t like them – I do – and I have plenty of them right here on Ratebeer (go ahead, take a peek but come back for the good stuff).  I’ll get to my impressions of the beer in a bit but there are a few other things about Shmaltz Brewing and The Chosen Beer folks I want to get to before then.

I feel a certain connection to the Shmaltz Brewery.  Their beers are brewed and bottled (some of them) in Brooklyn.  I was brewed and swaddled in Brooklyn.  They moved to California (in partnership with Mendocino Brewing) for a while.  I moved to California for a while.  They’re Jewish – I guess.  I’m Jewish – again (long story – short first marriage).  They’re irreverent.  I have a PhD in Irreverent Communications and Sarcasm.  So its only fitting that I say a few words about HeBrew Jewbelation Sweet Sixteen.

This brew is not your Bubbie’s Manischewitz.  That stuff is fowl.  If you like Manischewitz wines, I don’t want to hear from you.  Your judgment is flawed.  Our people aren’t wine makers.  Not in our skill set.  We’re really good at comedy, running Hollywood studios, swimming, the occasional whopper white collar crime, and endodontics but we don’t have what it takes to make great wine.  Must have something to do with that grape stomping thing – a little too close to manual labor.

So wine making is out but what about brewing craft beer?  Shmaltz has been at it a while with some respectable success.  What’s truly surprising is that they don’t have a physical brewery.  Their beers are brewed under contract through a partnership with Mendocino Brewing.  The Jewbelation Series is their version of anniversary brews and that’s where Sweet Sixteen comes in to play (or out to play).  The concept is simple: celebrating 16 years of brewing by releasing a beer with 16 malt varieties, 16 hop varieties, and coming in at 16% ABV.   Like I said, simple concept.  Simple but screwy.  Right off the bat I’m a little leery of a craft beer that’s tied to a gimmicky theme and this one’s got classic Jewish schtick all over it.  Would anyone notice if they swapped out the Palisade hops for Nelson Sauvin?  I don’t think so.  So the whole 16 malts/16 hops is nonsense (though I’m thrilled they used flaked quinoa – checked that off the craft beer bucket list).

Here’s something that makes more sense in relation to Jewish beer than 16 hop varieties, 16 Jew varieties:

OK, 17 if you count Simon & Garfunkel as 2 but they were Bar Mitzvad together so I’m counting them as 1.  I’m not so sure the 16 malts and 16 hops would safely navigate the Hora, but once that 16% ABV kicks in any of them still spinning would soon need the services of a doctor (fortunately there’ll be plenty to chose from at any Jewish party).

He'Brew Jewbelation Sweet 16

He’Brew Jewbelation Sweet 16

Is it a good beer?  Well… I don’t love it but it does some things right.  It’s an impressive looking brew.  A ribbon of liquid obsidian pours into the glass with just the faintest glints of deep ruby highlights.  It’s got a thin, creamy dark tan head and plenty of thick lacing.  Intense aroma of coffee and bittersweet chocolate with a touch of white pepper that hints at the parting blow to come.  With all those malt and hop varieties I expected the flavors to mimic a combination of Hava Nagila & the Harlem Shake but, surprisingly, they were closer to the Hustle.  And while we’re on the subject of organized dances, here’s why we only attach ourselves to one another and go in circles:

Why we only dance the Hora

Why we only dance the Hora

Anyway, back to the brew.  Pretty straightforward imperial stout profile with robust coffee, cocoa bitterness, dark fruits (plum, cherry, raisin), molasses, and a bit of rye.  The mouthfeel seemed at times chewy yet also a bit thin.  The finish was long and sweet with a parting punch of alcohol – almost bourbony.

So in the end I can’t say I was blown away by the beer but I wasn’t disappointed either.  It has a place.  I’d proudly bring it to my next Shiva call.  After all, it’s a perfect brew for cutting through the somber emotions and horrific fish tray aromas at those things.  Its Big, Bold & Boozy.  In a newly coined and appropriately Jewish word: its “Babsy.”

Would you have preferred a picture of Mandy Patinkin?

Barbra Streisand (Hebrew but NOT a He’Brew celebrity endorser)



10 thoughts on “He’Brew Jewbelation Sweet Sixteen – The Tribe Has Spoken

  1. Oy vey! I suspect that this post will have you called in to your Rabbi’s office where he will most likely ask you to cough up some more gelt in order to avoid kicking you out on your tuchus. Meshuggah you are!

    Nicely done!


  2. Blastphemy-light at best. Your schyick plays more like a borscht-belt kiddie show than the midnight review. You should be more than simply dissappointed when expecting jungle fever (hora and harlem shake) and getting 70s flute rock. perhaps too many hours as a stock “gentleman hanging sequined halter tops at The Limited has clouded your judgement, but you should be pissed, not just pissing drunk. Even your 16 jewish varieties–while hysterical in concept, seem more mad magazine than Lenny Bruce. Koufax and Dylan and Jesus (especially Heston’s Jesus) Ginsburg and Kenny–cool. But Diamond and Patinkin and Spielberg? ahhh you could have used emma goldman, moshe Dayan, and Goliath–from Davey and Goliath–few people knew his mother was jewish. anyway, you are on the cusp of blog greatness–but hold back on your hoppiness and go for something much bolder. we want a maccabee mongerer, not a glass of Michelob.

    • What do you mean by 70s flute rock? Jethro Tull? Communal agrarians may rise en masse and march upon your campus for that slight.

      More importantly, that’s Kyle – not Kenny. Kyle was Jewish. Kenny was, shall we say, antagonistic towards our People. Oh, the Heston guy is Moses – not Jesus. No worries though. I can see how you’d get them confused. Both were heavily bearded Jews who’s behaviors were, in large part, influenced by conversations with extra-terestrial beings.

      As for the sequined halter tops… On second thought.

      Glad you stopped by (despite the Michelob jab).


      • sloppy on mypart about kyle and kenny–they all look alike to me. flute rock was reference to the hustle–not an obvious one i guess, but .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHU94JmTp_M (although given the tight pants here it could be a more accurate reference than even i first thought). moses, jesus–both look alike jewish profits but apparently the latter more marketable (kind of ironic, no? can’t wait to hoist one in person.

  3. Where to begin … The use of Mandy Patinkin while expected was once again brilliant. Barry Manilow is beginning to look like Madame from Wayland & Madame. I do not believe Michael Phelphs is Jewish. Mark Spitz, Jason Lezak and Lenny Krayzelburg are. Rather than include so many Hollywood types, you could have included Hank Greenberg (baseball); Corey Pavin, Amy Alcott or Morgan Pressel (golf); Sid Luckman, Ron “The Intellectual Assassin” Mix or Andre Tippett (Football Hall of Famers); Harold Abrahams (of Chariots of Fire fame); or, my personal favorite, Shlomo Glickstein (tennis). Oh, and your beer review was good, too.

    • Schlomo Glickstien! Nice! I actually gave serious thought to Hammer’in Hank and Mark Spitz but decided to go with the Jewish athlete poster boy (Sandy) and the Y Gen Spitz (just in case a few PBR hipsters wander over here by accident. I kind of like the unspoken connection between Barry Manilow and Mandy Patinkin. After all, who knows who he was really singing about…..


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  5. Pingback: HomeBrewTography and a Beer Review: The Alemonger’s From H.O.P.P.E.R.S. Wit Love | It's just the booze dancing...

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