Monday, December 16, 2013

Jewbelation Reborn – Schmaltz Brewing

                Last year, I was fortunate enough to find a bottle of Jewbelation Sweet 16 in the back of a case at my local liquor store, months after it came out.  This year, I was more on top of it, and headed out to pick up a bottle of Jewbelation Reborn, Schmaltz’s 17th Anniversary beer as soon as I got word that it was in stock.  I was a big fan of Sweet 16 and my biggest regret is that I was only able to find the one bottle that I reviewed.  This year, I picked up a few bottles so that I would have another one on hand when I was craving it.  The 17th anniversary Jewbelation Reborn follows a similar theme to that of Sweet 16, upping the ante to 17 different malts, 17 different hops and increasing the strength up to 17% ABV.

                Schmaltz’s 17th Anniversary also marks a major transition for the brewery, opening up a new 50-barrel brewery in Clifton Park, New York.  They will now be able to brew beers in house, rather than contracting them out, allowing the Schmaltz to produce a wider range of beers, and many more one-offs for the tap room, or regional distribution.  In honor of the occasion, they released their Death of a Contract Brewer Black IPA, which was sadly only distributed in Up-state New York.  One of these days I am going to have to take a road trip out to check out the brewery and pick up some of their beers that only have regional distribution.  Expanding production, and having the freedom to brew what they want, when they want to brew it can only be a good sign for Schmaltz, and I look forward to the wider range of beers that is sure to result!

                He’Brew Dry Hopped Session Ale was my first exposure to the Schmaltz beers, but since then I have tried a few more in their lineup and posted a couple reviews (link at the bottom of this post).  I have enjoyed everything that I have had from them, and went into Jewbelation Reborn with high hopes.  Sweet 16 was so malty, silky, and luxuriant, like a decedent dessert.  I was eager to find out whether 17 would be equally amazing, or if the Sweet 16 was too good to be duplicated.  My expectations were high, then again Jewbelation Reborn was $16, rather than the unbelievable bargain I got when I found Sweet 16 for $5 last year.  On to the review

                Over at Beeradvocate, Jewbelation Reborn currently has a score of 87, with an 85 from the Bros.  At ratebeer, it currently has a score of 57 for style and a score of 91 overall.  The 57 from ratebeer is particularly surprising, for a style that is pretty open to interpretation, especially since it scored so highly overall.

They Say:

I Say:

                Jewbelation Reborn pours an opaque black with a thick, creamy, light brown head that holds excellent retention and leaves moderately heavy lacing in the glass.  Roasted barley notes, and dark fruits come to the forefront in the aroma, with sweet alcohol notes, transitioning into subtle earthy and spicy hops.  The aroma is moderately complex, but not quite as complex as the 16th Anniversary.

                The flavor begins with roasted barley and earthy hops with a hint of rye, transitioning to dark baker’s chocolate, toffee, and grilled plums.  Slightly spicy alcohols come in at the back end, although they become sweeter as the beer warms.  The toffee and grilled plum flavors start to become more prevalent as the beer warms to room temperature.  Jewbelation Reborn is full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation, there is just enough carbonation there to keep this from feeling heavy on the palate.  The 17% ABV is definitely present in Jewbelation Reborn, and prominent in both the aroma and the flavor.

                Jewbelation Reborn definitely has a strong alcohol presence, which might fade or become more complex as the beer ages.  The malt backbone in Jewbelation Reborn should definitely support cellaring, and develop into an excellent beer for vertical tasting when the inevitable Jewbelation 18 is released next year.   Great breweries are great because of the creative beers that they brew, and Schmaltz Brewing already has a long history of creative beers.  I definitely think that Schmaltz brewing will continue to produce excellent beers that represent everything that is good with the craft beer movement in America.  Opening up their own brew house in Clifton Park, NY is a sign of great things to come; I just wish more of it was coming out to Wisconsin. 

                That’s all for today, check back later this week for my next post!

                Happy Drinking!!