Chanukah started on Friday, and the occasion called for a special brew, something that would go well with potato latkes and gelt.
The answer was Jewbelation, the massive holiday beer from New York's Shmaltz Brewing Company (makers of HE'BREW, the chosen beer).
The gimmicky brand marketing for Shmaltz -- its shtick -- has always kind of annoyed me. Jewbelation, for example, is a Bar Mitzvah beer because it's celebrating Shmaltz's thirteenth birthday (the age when Jewish kids are Bar and Bas Mitzvahed). Plus, it's made with thirteen kinds of hops, thirteen kinds of malts and is 13 percent alcohol by volume.
But the Shmaltz brewers clearly know their stuff -- as I discovered last September at the Great American Beer Festival when I tried their delicious Lenny's R.I.P.A. -- a rye double-IPA.
Jewbelation, however, is overdone. It's an almost sickeningly sweet beer that resembles a cross between a barley wine and a sherry-like bourbon barrel-aged ale. It is big -- and complicated -- and very nearly overpowering with flavors of raisin and chocolate and molasses.
If thirteen-year-olds had this much punch, we'd all be in trouble.
But it did go well with gelt. Happy Chanukah.
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