Shmaltz Brewing Company
Handcrafters of HE'BREW Beer and Coney Island Craft Lagers
|Headquarters||Clifton Park, New York; San Francisco, California, USA|
|Production output||13,000 barrels|
Shmaltz Brewing Company is an American craft brewing company based in Clifton Park, New York that owns HE'BREW Beer and Coney Island Craft Lagers. Founded as “American Jewish Celebration Beer” by proprietor Jeremy Cowan, the company’s beers now are distributed in over thirty-one U.S. states, Canada, and England. Shmaltz is known for blurring beer styles and using puns, art, history, and pop culture in every aspect of their products. After sixteen years as a contract brewer, Shmaltz officially opened their own brewery in Clifton Park, New York in May 2013. Shmaltz Brewing Company was recently recognized as "Best Craft Brewer" by Beverage World Magazine at their 2010 BevStar Awards, and ranked by craft beer consumer website RateBeer.com as one of the 100 "Best Brewers of 2011."
HE'BREW Beer began as a Chanukah experiment in 1996 when founder and proprietor Jeremy Cowan and friends squeezed pomegranates to produce juice for the first HE'BREW beer. Early distribution for this beer was done by Cowan himself out of the trunk of his grandmother’s car in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1997, Anderson Valley Brewing Company began brewing HE'BREW Beer and its distribution expanded to small craft beer wholesalers in California, Chicago and New York. 2003 marked the year Shmaltz began packaging Genesis Ale and Messiah Bold in six-packs and moved production to Mendocino Brewing Company's facility in Saratoga Springs, NY. Six beers currently make up the HE'BREW Beer line: Genesis Ale, Messiah Bold, Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale, Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., Rejewvenator, and Jewbelation. All HE'BREW Beers are certified Kosher by the Kosher Supervision of America.
HE'BREW Beer is widely recognized for its playful yet earnest study of Jewish, world, and pop cultural histories. Each label of HE'BREW Beer lists facts and quotations related to the beer’s inspiration and its ingredients. For example, Origin, an imperial amber pomegranate ale, pays tribute to the original 1996 HE'BREW beer made with pomegranates, and its label contains facts, ancient mythology, and pop cultural references to pomegranates. Another component of HE'BREW’s marketing is its “shtick”, which incorporates Jewish religious references into the beers’ names and slogans. Genesis Ale is aptly named because it was the first HE'BREW creation, and the tagline to Messiah Bold is “the beer you’ve been waiting for,” which alludes to the Jewish belief that the promised savior of the world has yet to come. Shmaltz is also developing the recipe for Hop Manna, the first IPA in the HE'BREW line. The name refers to manna, the sacred food that fell from the sky to the desert to feed the Israelites following their exodus from Egypt. Hop Manna is slated to be released in 2011[dated info] only on draft, with a full national launch of bottles and draft in 2012.
In 2006 HE'BREW debuted Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., a rye double IPA dedicated to the late Jewish comedian Lenny Bruce. This beer is brewed with an "obscene" amount of malt and hops, including three kinds of rye malt and seven different hop varieties. Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. is the first in a series of “Tributes to Jewish Stars” and is available year-round. Following the release of Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., Shmaltz sponsored an "Homage to Lenny Bruce & Free Speech," a fundraising event that featured Sarah Silverman and Lewis Black. The barrel-aged version of Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., R.I.P.A. on Rye, took home the Silver Medal in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.
Shmaltz offers the Rejewvenator and Jewbelation series as limited seasonal releases. Rejewvenator is a half-doppelbock, half-Belgian-style dubbel that takes inspiration from the German custom of brewing strong, dark lagers (bocks) for springtime consumption and adding the suffix “-ator” to the beer’s name. Rejewvenator's spring-to-fall availability coincides with the barley harvest in the spring and the hop harvest in the fall, as well as with the spring and fall new years in Jewish tradition. The beer itself is a lager-ale hybrid, fermented by both a lager yeast and Trappist and abbey ale yeasts, and each year a different sacred species fruit is added to the fermenting wort. The 2008 Rejewvenator, for example, featured fig juice, while the 2009 Rejewvenator was made with California date juice and 2010 Rejewvenator, with Concord grapes. The Beverage Testing Institute awarded both Rejewvenator 2009 and Rejewvenator 2010 a gold medal at their 2010 and 2011 World Beer Championships, respectively.
Inaugurated as an eighth-anniversary ale called Jewbelation 8, Shmaltz commemorates their anniversary with each subsequent edition of Jewbelation by using the same number of malts, hops, and alcohol-by-volume value as the number of years they have been brewing. Numerology is integral to the Hebrew alphabet and Judaism, and in recognition of this aspect of its Jewish heritage, Shmaltz features religious, scientific, and cultural facts and quotations involving the special anniversary number on the Jewbelation label. This extreme beer is released in the fall, and Chanukah 2011 will herald the 15th anniversary of Shmaltz and the release of Jewbelation 15. In keeping with the Jewbelation tradition, this beer will contain 15 malts, 15 hops, and 15% ABV. Fall 2011 Shmaltz also will release Genesis 15:15, a barrel-aged Harvest Barleywine brewed with pomegranates, figs, dates, and Concord grapes, to commemorate its anniversary.
In connection with each Chanukah season, Shmaltz hosts an annual beer challenge “Chanukah vs. Christmas: The Battle Royale of Beers” in national markets including NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and others.
Coney Island Craft Lagers
Summer 2008 marked the official launch of Shmaltz's Coney Island Craft Lagers line. This brand was released in partnership with the arts organization Coney Island USA, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, and a portion of the proceeds from Coney Island Craft Lagers directly benefits Coney Island USA. The line includes the flagship Coney Island Lager, which was first released in June 2007, and five experimental lagers: Sword Swallower, Albino Python, Mermaid Pilsner, Human Blockhead (Winter), and Freaktoberfest (Fall). In 2010 the brand was awarded "Best Craft Brewer" and "Best in Show" at industry publication Beverage World Magazine's BevStar Awards for product quality, brand marketing, and overall creativity in "pushing the limits of lager."
The striking artwork for Coney Island Lagers is the creation of Shmaltz’s art director Matt Polacheck and Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Dave C. Wallin, whose original illustrations spotlight Heather Holliday (Sword Swallower) and the MC of the sideshow, Donny Vomit (Human Blockhead). The logo for the brand and for Coney Island Lager is based on the iconic "Tillie" face that graced the entrance of George Tilyou's Steeplechase Park in Coney Island.
Coney Island Craft Lagers’ signature “Beer Freak” logo also inspired Roger Mallette, founder of the cycling jersey company Retro Image Apparel, to create Micro Beer Jerseys, a spin-off venture that features jerseys with craft brewery artwork.
The October 2008 release of Freaktoberfest, a seasonal blood-red lager, inspired the inaugural Freaktoberfest Boutique Craft Beer and Music Festival in Coney Island, and the festival has become an annual event in Brooklyn, NY featuring craft beer, sideshow performances, live music, and burlesque.
Shmaltz Brewing Company also participates in the annual Mermaid Parade, a nearly 30-year-old tradition incorporating performance art, local businesses, and Brooklyn celebrities in a celebration of the historic Coney Island neighborhood and the lore of beach and sea-themed creatures.
Like many of its craft brewing counterparts, Shmaltz Brewing has begun aging several of its more complex and higher alcohol beers in various barrels previously used to store whiskey and bourbon whiskey. HE'BREW R.I.P.A. on Rye, Vertical Jewbelation, and Genesis 15:15 were all aged in Sazerac 6-year Rye Whiskey barrels, while Barrel-Aged Coney Island Human Blockhead was the first Shmaltz beer to be aged in Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey barrels. While the beers in the barrel-aged series are Shmaltz's most limited offerings, they are also the most award-winning: R.I.P.A. on Rye was the Silver Medalist in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival and the Beverage Testing Institute awarded Vertical Jewbelation a gold medal at its 2011 World Beer Championships.
List of beers brewed
|Name||Original Release Date||Availability||Style||ABV%|
|HE'BREW Genesis Ale||1996, Dec||Year Round||Amber Ale||5.6|
|HE'BREW Messiah Bold||1999||Year Round||Nut Brown Ale||5.6|
|HE'BREW Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.||2006||Year Round||Rye Imperial India Pale Ale||10|
|HE'BREW Origin||2006||Year Round||Imperial Amber Ale brewed with pomegranate juice||8|
|HE'BREW Rejewvenator||2008, May||Seasonal||Belgian-style dubbel/doppelbock hybrid brewed with figs (2008); dates (2009); Concord grapes (2010)||7.8|
|HE'BREW Jewbelation||2004, Dec||Seasonal||American Strong Ale/Imperial Brown Ale - number of malts and hops used and ABV corresponds to anniversary||8-15|
|HE'BREW Genesis 10:10||2006||Limited||Imperial Amber Ale brewed with pomegranate juice||8|
|HE'BREW Hop Manna||2011||Limited - Draft Only||IPA||6.8|
|HE'BREW R.I.P.A. on Rye||2010||Limited||Rye Imperial India Pale Ale aged in Sazerac 6-year Rye Whiskey barrels||10|
|HE'BREW Vertical Jewbelation||2010, Dec||Limited||Blend of Barrel-Aged (Sazerac 6-year Rye Whiskey barrels) Jewbelations 8-14||10.5|
|HE'BREW Genesis 15:15||2011, Sep||Limited||Harvest Barleywine brewed with pomegranates, figs, dates, and Concord grapes and aged in Sazerac 6-year Rye Whiskey barrels||13.4|
|Coney Island Lager||2007, Jun||Year Round||American Amber lager||5.5|
|Coney Island Sword Swallower||2008, Jun||Year Round||IPA brewed with lager yeast||7.2|
|Coney Island Albino Python||2008, Jun||Year Round||White lager brewed with sweet orange peel, crushed fennel seed, and ginger||6|
|Coney Island Human Blockhead||2009, Jan||Seasonal||Imperial American Bock||10|
|Coney Island Freaktoberfest||2008, Sep||Seasonal||Halloween blood-red lager||6.66|
|Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner||2009, Jun||Year Round||American rye pilsner||5.3|
|Coney Island Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead||2011, Jul||Limited||Imperial American Bock aged in Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey barrels||10|
|Meadusa||2010, Sep||Limited, Draft Only||Blend of Albino Python and Redstone Meadery's Traditional Mead||7|
|Geektoberfest||2010, Sep||Limited, Draft Only||Imperial Sour Brown Ale collaboration blend with Captain Lawrence Brewing Company and Ithaca Beer Company; official beer of New York Craft Beer Week||9|
Coney Island Brewing Company
In May 2010 Shmaltz launched its first brewing location in Brooklyn, New York. At one gallon of beer per batch, Coney Island Brewing Company is officially the smallest commercial brewery by volume in the world. In August 2011 Coney Island Brewing Company registered as a fully licensed brewery with the state of New York, and within its 175-square foot space brewery staff began bottling its nano-batches of beer for sale to the public, including a Pumpernickel Bagel Porter and a Cotton Candy Wit Ale. The grand opening was celebrated on August 10, 2011 with a proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and with other distinguished business and cultural leaders in attendance. Shmaltz also has welcomed several guest brewers to Coney Island Brewing Company during its first two seasons to brew experimental recipes inspired by Coney Island and the local gastronomical landscape.
|Coney Island Brewing Company and Mermaid Parade 2011|
Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah
In September 2010 owner Jeremy Cowan published a small business memoir, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah, that chronicles Cowan's upbringing in the Northern California suburbs and describes how HE'BREW Beer evolved from an inside joke with high school friends to a nationally distributed craft beer brand under Shmaltz Brewing Company. The book was launched at Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado, and a second edition was released in December 2010. "Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah" was written with help from friend and journalist James Sullivan and is published by Malt Shop Publishing.
National distribution of Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah begins September 2011 through Small Press United. It is now available at bookstores across the country, as well as at major digital retail outlets including Amazon.com. Detailed information on Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah, including a free sampling of Chapter One and suggested beer pairings, can be viewed at here
Jeremy Cowan will head out on a book tour this fall and winter hitting major and regional markets including NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and others. Check external links below or click here for tour dates.
- "Shmaltz Brewing Company" Ruby Tuesday, Pick of the Week, May 26, 2009
- "Best Brewers in the World 2011". RateBeer. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- "He'Brew". Shmaltz Brewing Company. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- Brand, William (2005). "He’brew - The Chosen Beer: How It All Began". Northwest Brewing News. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- Hawthorne, Marc. "Food Feature: Shmaltz Brewing Company". The Onion. Retrieved May 2009.
- Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. pp. 14, 138.
- Nason, Adam. "Shmaltz Brewing to Release Hop Manna IPA". BeerNews.org. BeerNews.org. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Kitsock, Greg (30 September 2009). "Rye Observations". Washington Post (Washington Post). Retrieved 30 September 2009.
- Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. pp. 236–238.
- Brewers Association. "2010 Great American Beer Festival Winners List". Brewers Association. Retrieved September 2010.
- Beverage Testing Institute. "Shmaltz Brewing Company 2009 He'Brew Rejewvenator Ale". Beverage Testing Institute. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Beverage Testing Institute. "Shmaltz Brewing Company 2010 He'Brew Rejewvenator Ale". Beverage Testing Institute. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. p. 216.
- Farrell, Maureen (28 September 2009). "Must Try Marketing Maneuvers.". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
- Cioletti, Jeff (15 July 2010). "A Trio of Freaks". Beverage World Magazine.
- Miliard, Mike (13 August 2008). "Shmaltz Coney Island Lagers: Freaking Delicious.". The Boston Phoenix.
- Laura Oppenheimer, “Cycling Jerseys Show Off Retro Flair,” The Oregonian, March 17, 2009. http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2009/03/cycling_jerseys_show_off_retro.html.
- Shmaltz Brewing Company. "Freaktoberfest Boutique Beer and Music Festival". Shmaltz Brewing Company. Retrieved September 2011.
- "Shmaltz Brewing Company". 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- Beverage Testing Institute. "Shmaltz Brewing Company He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation Barrel Aged Ale". Beverage Testing Institute. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Shmaltz Brewing Company". Shmaltz Brewing Company. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing.
- World Records Academy. "Smallest Commercial Brewery: Coney Island Brewing Company Set World Record". Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- Kitsock, Greg (6 December 2010). "Beer: Barley, Hops, and Shtick.". The Washington Post.
- Jackson, Joe (19 July 2010). "Get a Taste of the Carnival with Shmaltz Brewing Co.'s New Coney Island-inspired Beers". NY Daily News (New York: NY Daily News). Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- Holl, John (10 December 2010). "Shmaltz for the Holidays". Ale Street News.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shmaltz Brewing Company.|
- Shmaltz Brewing Company Official Website
- Coney Island Brewing Company
- Freaktoberfest Boutique Beer and Music Festival
- Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah Official Website
- Blog for Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah Official Website
- Reading event dates for Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah Official Website
- Beer & Nosh
- Eby Harvey Photography
- TheFoamingHead's Shmaltz Page