Clifton Park, NY — Monday, February 29, 2016 — Shmaltz Brewing Company celebrates 20 years in the craft beer business with the nationwide seasonal release of the 5th iteration of its annual blended, barrel-aged sour experiment and adventure, Funky Jewbelation® (9.4% ABV). While craft beer aficionados are well versed in the shtick-laden ways of He’brew — The Chosen Beer®, many might not know the real backstory behind one of their most award-winning brews: Funky Jewbelation®. Let us now share the tale that Shmaltz lived to tell.
A Salvage Job Results in Gold Medals
Since its inception in 1996, Shmaltz has never just stuck with the status quo. When they’ve found an opportunity to push the needle, they don’t hesitate. Funky Jewbelation® is a great example of the creative spirit Shmaltz has pioneered for the past two decades. For 17 years, Shmaltz was a proud cheerleader of contract brewing, which can present its own advantages and challenges. While they almost never ran into any quality issues, the beginning of Funky Jewbelation® happened to be just such a time.
What was supposed to be their most beloved seasonal of 2008 (15th Anniversary Jewbelation Ale®) turned out to be a total catastrophe. Something unexpectedly happened during fermentation, and Shmaltz had almost 500 barrels worth of beer they thought they’d have to dump. The beer was expected to finish at 15% ABV and it barely made it to 11%, no matter how much yeast they threw at it. It was overly sweet, and lacked the flavor and complexity consistent with the brewery’s Jewbelation® series. The production costs were through the roof, and Shmaltz had to find a way to fix the situation. Jeremy Cowan (Founder, Shmaltz Brewing Company) was struck by the idea of blending this batch with a few other Shmaltz beers.
“A few years prior to this, we were at GABF next to Firestone Walker, and they were pouring their Anniversary Series, which was a blend they’d put together,” says Cowan. “Additionally, I recalled doing a collaboration project with Scott Vaccaro (Captain Lawrence) and Jeff O’Neil (Ithaca Brewing), blending two of their sour beers with two of our barrel-aged beers. We called it Geektoberfest and it was a super interesting beer. We even made a t-shirt to celebrate the collaboration that said ‘beer freak, beer geek.’ The classic story of what happens when you get beer people together.”
Shmaltz did the only thing they could do at this point, use the off-batch of beer as a base and blend in additional beers from the rest of their portfolio that were placed into any available barrels they had at the time. After barrel-aging specific beers in various bourdon and whiskey barrels, Shmaltz churned out their first ever Funky Jewbelation®. A salvage job turned into a brilliant opportunity with the brew taking home two consecutive gold medals at the 2012 and 2013 World Beer Championships, and a silver medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup 2014. It just goes to show what can happen with the right perspective.
The Bold & Beautiful Funky Jewbelation® (9.4% ABV)
For the 2016 release of Funky Jewbelation®, Shmaltz loaded eight individual ales and lagers for six to twenty-two months into bourbon and rye whiskey barrels from Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, Willett, Redemption, Jack Daniels, and Sazerac. This year’s Funky Jewbelation® glistens a deep ruby color with tart flavors of dark fruit and complex malts – caramel, toffee, and rye. Aromas bounce between bittersweet chocolate, farmhouse funk, and citrus and sour cherries. A mouthwatering puckering is complemented by pronounced hits of bourbon, charred wood, molasses and light notes of vanilla.
This year’s hand blended recipe of Funky Jewbelation® is an expert mash-up of Jewbelation 19® (test batch brewed as the base of Funky, 11 months in advance of blending), Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass The Beer® (aged 8 months), Messiah Nut Brown Ale® (aged 10 months), Bock Bock® (aged 8 months), Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.® (aged 6 months), Rejewvenator® 2014 (aged 22 months), Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale® (aged 10 months), and Reunion Ale ’14: A Beer For Hope® (aged 16 months).
2016 is shaping up to be a superb year for Shmaltz Brewing. Lets kick off 2016 by raising a glass of Funky Jewbelation® and hailing all the incredible creativity and innovation taking shape on the craft beer scene across the country. L’Chaim!
About Shmaltz Brewing Company
Founder 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 He’brew 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 9 gold and 5 silver medals from the World Beer Championships in the past several years.
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