Many breweries have interesting stories about their founding, yet some are remarkably striking. Shmaltz Brewing, founded in 1996, brewed their first beer with pomegranates, pomegranates that founder Jeremy Cowan and his friends hand squeeze pomegranate in his flat in San Francisco. The first batch of 100 cases was self-distributed out of the trunk of Cowan’s grandmother’s car. In 1997, Shmaltz contracted brewing through the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, expanding distribution throughout California and to Chicago and New York. In 2003, production was moved to the Mendocino Brewing Company’s brewery in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Since that first batch of 100 cases, Shmaltz has come a long way, expanding distribution and earning medals and accolades. As of this past winter, Jeremy Cowan and everyone else at Shmaltz celebrated their 16th Anniversary. In honor of their 16th Anniversary, Shmaltz released Jewbelation Sweet 16, a 16% American Strong Ale brewed with 16 malts and 16 hop varieties spread over 16 additions. For those of you out there who brew, they were nice enough to include the recipe.
This is the second Shmaltz Brewing beer that I have posted on, the first being the Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale. On to the review:
At Beeradvocate, Sweet 16 has a score of 87. Over at ratebeer it has a score of 93 overall and a 67 for style.
Jewbelation Sweet 16 pours opaque black with a thick, foamy, tan head that holds moderate retention, fading out to cling to the sides of the glass over the course of a few minutes and leaves intricate lacing behind. The aroma is extremely complex with notes of roasted malts, vanilla, fresh baked bread, caramel, chocolate, and noticeable alcohol on the back end. As it warms, the aromas blend more fully into an aroma similar to warm chocolate cake.
It is a very silky, sweet and luxuriant beer with flavor notes of chocolate, caramel, herbal and citrus hops, and again reminded me of a chocolate cake with subtle alcohol notes in the flavor. As it warms the flavor takes on licorice notes and the alcohol becomes more dominant. The finish is slightly sweet, malty and well-rounded. Sweet 16 is full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.
Okay, now that that part is done all I can say is HOT DAMN! Sweet 16 is an amazing beer! It was very well brewed and drank like a fine desert. If I could go out and pick up a case of it I certainly would. Unfortunately though, I picked up the last bottle at my local liquor store and have been unable to find it at another location near me.
If you see Sweet 16 on tap or in a bottle near you, pick it up! It is an incredible bargain at the $5.00 that I paid for it and would certainly be a good deal even at the $10-15 price range.
That’s all for today, be sure to check back soon for another post!