Its the time of year to wish you friends and loved ones a Happy Holidays. Regardless of which holiday is celebrated, a good beer is a great way to ring in the cheer. With Hanukkah just around the corner, best to have a culturally appropriate beer. This weeks Beer of the Week is He’brew’s Jewbelation: Sweet Sixteen.
This holiday season, Shmaltz Brewing Company celebrates its “Sweet 16″ with the limited-edition release of the next stop on HE’BREW Beer’s award-winning Anniversary journey: Jewbelation Sweet 16®. A complex, enormous brown ale with a dynamic labyrinth of multi-layered flavors, Jewbelation Sweet 16® is brewed with 16 malts, 16 hops and soars to 16% alc. Since its inception in 2004, Shmaltz’sJewbelation® series has been hailed by critics and showered with accolades including, “5 Stars” from Celebrator Beer News, “Best Holiday Beer” by Pacific Brew News, and Playboy Magazine naming Jewbelation Twelve® one of the “Best Winter Brews.” Imbibe Magazine calls Jewbelation 14® one of the “Top 50 Beers in the World” and a blind, holiday tasting panel from SF Weekly determined Jewbelation 14® the “Best Christmas Beer” – the brew also took home a Gold Medal at the World Beer Championships (2011).
From the label:
For our Shmaltz Sweet 16, it’s all cupcakes and unicorns this—round! Romans 16:16: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” 16 books in the Hebrew Bible go by the names of Prophets. Lincoln was our 16th president. As the Revolution raged, Louis the XVI became the only King of France ever executed, ending 1000 years of dynasty. “One cannot become a saint when one works 16 hours a day.” -Jean-Paul Sartre. The true 16 oz pint must pour to the ”painted line,” taken from Old French and Latin. The Clash first rocked the US in 1980 on their “16 Tons Tour”. A 16-Ton weight famously crushed skits in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. 16 year-olds can legally pilot a glider, buy a lottery ticket, and get married in Scotland. Jewish superstar of the roaring ’20′s, Al Jolson, often performing in blackface, popularized the song, “When You Were Sweet 16″. Seth Rogen, child of self-avowed “Jewish radical socialists,” got on Freaks and Geeks at age 16. “At 16, the adolescent knows about suffering because he himself has suffered, but he barely knows that other beings also suffer.” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau. To attend Justin Bieber’s Sweet 16 party, parents had to sign a waiver stating “My participation may involve risk of serious injury or death.” In South Park’s “Satan’s Super Sweet 16,” serial killers from Hell failed to produce a cake baked in the form of a Ferrari. Thankfully there’s a ton of ways to come of age so Shmaltz it up, Tribe — Le’Chaim! – Jeremy Cowan, proprietor
Sweet Sixteen kicks off with a big aroma of malt sweetness, specifically chocolate syrup supported by a whiff of alcohol. Opaque and thick when poured into the glass, the brown color has highlights of red and a coffee and cream colored head can be coaxed out of this beer with a little effort. Big flavors of chocolate, malty treacle, wood and roasted malts lead the way. Hops are overwhelmed by big malt flavors but provide a balanced to the beer preventing it from getting out of hand. The finish is a bit boozy but nothing that gives away the 16% potency. All around this is a rich, full-flavored brew that’s meant for sharing and not for the faint of heart.
With a large 22 ounce bottle, I found it difficult to finish in one sitting. The solution though came in the form of dessert. Jewbelation Sweet Sixteen makes for an amazing beer float. The chocolate emphasis goes great with vanilla ice cream.
Jewbelation is an annual treat for me. I look forward to it as the series of beers always has a common theme but is constantly evolving as each year adds a new malt and hop and increases in potency by 1%. Tasting back through the series a roasted character went from being a driving component to playing a supportive role but still significant while a wonderful chocolate presence emerged. I look forward to what the series has in store for future releases.