I got really lucky this Hannukah when the folks over at Shmaltz Brewing sent me a couple of their Jewbelation Holiday He’Brews, the Jewbelation 14 and the Vertical Jewbelation. Now these brews have 14% and 10% alcohol, respectively, so I needed a friend to help me with the tasting so I didn’t end up on the floor. Luckily, my friend Katie is always a willing drinking partner. She also has pretty much the most goyisha children on earth, so I decided to inject a little Semitic culture into their world with some latkes and candle lighting.
Both of the brews are called ales but they are very dark, creamy and much more akin in flavor and body to a stout or porter. The Vertical Jewbelation is aged in whiskey barrels and has a very light smokey flavor. The Jewbelation 14 has 14 different kinds of hops and malts, so it was definitely a bit hoppier than the Vertical and had a malty sweetness to it. My typical go-to beer is an IPA, so these were significantly heavier and sweeter beers than I gravitate toward, but they went very well with the latkes. A couple of weeks ago I had the delightful opportunity to eat with the proprietors of Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, where they were holding a Shmaltz Brewing event and I got to taste the Lenny’s RIPA, which was a tasty rye based IPA. Along with that, I got to try Peter’s early foray into salami making at Saul’s, which I am hoping to highlight here after the holidays.
Wisely, Katie and I decided to taste the He’brew, make note, make the latkes and then finish off the beers. The kids had to suffice with latkes and gelt. When I asked them if they had learned about Hanukkah in school, they all shook their heads, but oddly they knew the symbols on the dreidel and the name of the shamash, so they must have gotten a few lessons before I showed up. They ended up have a rip roaring game of dreidel, in which JT declared himself “awesome at this game” but very sweetly agreed to evenly split the gelt at the end.