What is still known as the only Jewish beer company in America, Shmaltz Brewing Co., announced its farewell season after 25 years in the beer business with the first and final release of Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA in 16oz cans, vintage gems from the Shmaltz beer vault, and a fitting tribute, Exodus 2021 Barleywine Ale (8.8% ABV) brewed with Date, Fig, Pomegranate, and Grape. These and many more beers from Class of ’96 breweries were showcased as part of Shmaltz’s farewell tour events leading up to Hanukkah 2021.
Evolving from a quirky holiday experiment to an innovative advocate for the beer industry, Shmaltz has been known for its creative brand building, as a champion of contract brewing (both brewer and brewee), for completing multiple complex business deals, and as relentless punsters.
From the early years of self-distributing to growing to four then 45 wholesalers nationally, Shmaltz served as an unusual example and vocal advocate for contract brewing before opening its own 50-barrel 40,000 square feet production brewery in Upstate New York. Shmaltz expanded production volumes by 400% to over 30,000 barrels by then contracting for other renowned national and regional beer brands in addition to brewing their award-winning Shmaltz portfolio.
From the label of Exodus 2021: “25 years – A life in so many chapters,” writes founder and owner Jeremy Cowan. “The sacred species, bountiful throughout: ‘Of wheat and barley, grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive trees & date honey (Deut 8.8).’ Tolstoy: ‘One must have the prospect of a Promised Land to have the strength to move.’ Bart and Lisa: ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet…’ Let us rise above plagues and false idols to fare thee well, let your life proceed by its own design, and sing sweet songs to rock our souls. THANK YOU, TRIBE!! L’Chaim – To Life!”
Shmaltz Brewing is a testament to a company that stayed true to its founding values while keeping innovation at the heart of its efforts. Come toast 25 years of Quality, Community, and Shtick along with Cowan and his fantastic sales, marketing and bar staff in Troy and at one of the national events in NYC, Philly, Tampa, and more throughout the remainder of 2021, which will be listed on facebook.com/ShmaltzBrewing.
While it’s a Farewell to Shmaltz, it is not a goodbye for Cowan as he focuses on Alphabet City Brewing Company (with distribution throughout the New York metro area), his 518 Craft tasting room in Troy, NY, and a burgeoning consulting practice.
Harpoon going big with a new take on its iconic IPA
More than 25 years ago, Harpoon Brewery introduced the OG Harpoon IPA that started the IPA movement on the East Coast. They would never change this New England staple, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun with it…
Meet Imperial Harpoon IPA: Big & Limited Edition. This is not your father’s beer. Taking their iconic IPA recipe and jacking the ABV up to a whopping 9.0%, Harpoon doubled down on the hops for even more flavor in the classic Harpoon IPA we all know and love. Available for the month of December, this familiar, classic New England IPA can be enjoyed on a whole other level of hoppiness.
Living the Dream expands, which means more year-round beers
Littleton, Colo.’s Living The Dream continues its expansion this season with new canned additions to their year-round portfolio of beers available across the Front Range, and increased capacity to boot. Tasting room favorites Fly Reel Amber and Mountain Drive American Ale have scored themselves their own SKUs and are now available for sale at the Living The Dream tasting room, and at bars and retail locations in canned 6-packs. Four new tanks (three fermentation tanks and one brite) make these new offerings possible, and sustainable. These additions to the brewhouse will increase Living The Dream’s brewhouse capacity to 3500 BBL annually.
Fly Reel Amber. As deep and smooth as the South Platte River, Fly Reel Amber is a traditional Amber Ale perfect for your boat cooler or your back porch. A deep color with 4.1% ABV, balanced malt and hop presence, and dry finish makes this amber perfect for red ale lovers and anglers alike. Fly Reel took home a silver medal from the 2021 Denver International Beer Competition.
Mountain Drive American Ale. There’s almost nothing better than crisp mountain air, except maybe a crisp American ale. Mountain Drive is a back-to-basics crisp, light, and refreshing American Ale and the perfect easy drinker. With a 4.8% ABV and a subtle hop profile, it’s ideal for kicking back and keeping cool.
Fresh spruce tree tips the focus of SLO Brew’s Holidaze IPA
Tis’ the season for a piney, West Coast IPA brewed with a healthy dose of…Christmas trees. Holidaze IPA (7% ABV) from SLO Brew is crafted with fresh spruce tree tips, Citra hops and a touch of orange peel for a bright and juicy beer that drinks like a hike through a pine forest. The brewers at SLO Brew didn’t hold back, adding heaps of spruce tips in each batch of Holidaze IPA, enough for an entire Christmas tree and then some.
“We wanted to invoke the sensation of a fresh-cut Christmas tree in beer form,” said brewmaster Steve Courier. “One sip of Holidaze and you will be greeted with bold piney hop flavors that will sure to get you in a festive spirit.”
To add to the holiday celebrations, SLO Brew announced their Naughty or Nice giveaway promotion. Fans across the state can dust off those Ugly Christmas sweaters and see if they have been good or bad, getting rewarded with SLO Brew merchandise, discount codes, and the classic “Fra-gee-lay” leg lamp (it must be Italian). We here in Cleveland approve.
The unique Bruz Brut La Grande is back
Since 2016, Denver’s Bruz Beers has crafted a signature rendition of the Belgian originating Bière Brut style, with subtle differences from batch to batch. As one of the only breweries on the globe crafting this style of beer, Bruz is excited to share it with friends and family this season.
In 2002, Bière Brut (sometimes referred to as Champagne beer) hit the market for the first time. It was met with much critical acclaim as an extraordinary new beer style. Bière Brut is a very pale beer with delicate aromas and flavors (fresh apples, pears, ginger, mint, thyme, lemon and allspice), alcohol in the 11.5 percent range, a silky texture and a spectacular creamy, moussey white head with lots of “Belgian lace”. While it resembles Champagne in many respects, many aficionados find it considerably more interesting than the French bubbly. Bière Brut brewers did not set out to make a Champagne substitute; they set out to make a great beer with unique character. Read more on the Bruz blog about this style.
Brut La Grande is a pale golden color with a dense off-white head. Its perfumy aroma yields notes of lemons, apricots, allspice, and black pepper. Its complex flavor profile hints at tart apples, peaches, citrus, vanilla and exotic spices. 10.5 percent in ABV, Brut La Grande is light and airy with a silky mouthfeel, creamy pinpoint carbonation and a tart, bone-dry finish. Every sip is a celebration!
Bruz Owner Ryan Evans says, “the Bière Brut style has always fascinated me. It is a beautifully delicate beer that is amazingly smooth and drinkable. The layers of flavor make it an experience to drink. Coupled with high natural carbonation, Brut La Grande is truly a special experience. In a world dominated by IPA’s, it’s nice to have such an experience.”
Urban South giving off Throwback Vibes this winter
Urban South Brewery is bringing back Throwback Vibes, its winter seasonal beer first introduced in November 2020. Throwback Vibes is Urban South’s modern take on a West Coast IPA, and it is, for my tastes, absolutely perfect. It is available annually from November through March at the New Orleans taproom and throughout Urban South’s distribution footprint in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
An approachable hop bitterness and sweet malt character make Throwback Vibes a great choice for the cooler winter months. Sitting at 6.7% ABV, Throwback Vibes is brewed with a blend of Centennial, Simcoe, Galaxy and Citra hops to tone down bitterness and amplify softness. By toning down the bitterness of the traditional West Coast IPA beer style, the result is a more rounded, approachable sip without losing the assertive hop character.
Narragansett Beer teams with New Belgium for Nordic-inspired farmhouse ale
New England’s Narragansett Beer partnered with Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing to launch the craft Nordic-inspired farmhouse ale Norse x NorseWest. Influenced by the rich history of brewing during the Viking Age, Norse x NorseWest is a modern take on historical tastes, crafted with American malts and Nordic yeast and brewed with Lingenberry, Juniper, Myrica gale, and European hops. At 8% ABV, the first collaboration from Narragansett and New Belgium evokes a balanced and unique blend of earthy, fruity, and herbal notes.
Spearheaded by brewing industry veterans and friends Lee Lord, Head Brewer of Narragansett Beer in Providence, R.I. and Kelly McKnight, Head Pilot R&D Brewer of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, C.O, the collaborative brew unites both brewers’ exceptional industry knowledge and distinct tastes. Since first meeting at Watch City Brewing in Waltham, M.A. at the start of their careers, Lord and McKnight continued their friendship over a mutual passion for craft beer and innovation. Today, both are members of the Pink Boots Society, an international non-profit organization that supports women in the brewing profession.
“I’m beyond thrilled to collaborate with New Belgium Brewing and my close friend Kelly on Norse x NorseWest,” says Lee Lord, Head Brewer of Narragansett Beer. “This beer represents the best of both of our breweries and is the result of our shared commitment to creating a range of innovative craft beer styles with the highest-quality ingredients. I can’t wait for members of the craft beer community throughout New England and right here in Providence to get a taste!”
“As we were building our waterfront brewery and taproom in Providence, R.I., our goal was to create a space where our generational fans and the craft beer community could meet over a pint and enjoy all the great beers we have to offer,” says Mark Hellendrung, President of Narragansett Beer. “It has been incredible to welcome thousands of neighbors from across the country over the last six months and a joy to see Lee and Kelly create this innovative brew together.”