Any serious beer drinker remembers that very first taste. Mine was in a small dark bar across from the Electromotive plant, and just down the road from the Reynold’s Aluminum factory in McCook Illinois where my dad worked a good honest Union job. I recall looking over at my dad who smiled proudly as I lifted a glass of Schlitz beer to my lips. The year was 1968. I was 5.
Funny that Schmaltz Brewing’s Jewbelation Sweet 16 evoked that memory. Schlitz and this beer are world’s apart. This beer is thick as honey, and dark as a midwinter’s night. As I poured it into a full round chalice, the beer developed a thick foamy chocolate head. I played a bit with it, the head clinging to the glass, before being dragged reluctantly into that midnight umber body. But it was the first taste that swept me back to that working man’s tavern in ’68, respectable country music playing from a small radio behind the bar-not that hippie acid rock the anti-war protesters were all listening to. Now, as an activist many years later, that all seems to have come full circle.
Jewbelation Sweet 16. 16 malts. 16 hops. 16 % alcohol by volume. An impressive pinnacle from a guy who started out selling a good craft beer from his car. This is a thinking man’s beer. The layers and complexities, rich spices, dark and fragrant chocolates and a beautiful blend of hops amd malts evokes conversation and deep ponderances. He’brew Jewbelation Sweet 16 proves a centerpiece for hashing out the deepest thoughts. I kept lifting it again and again, marveling how the thick-as-honey brew seemed to capture the light and hold it fully.
A lot of years have passed since I sat at that bar as a boy with my father. Some years back he ran the gauntlet of some health problems. He beat ’em, but it was a fight. Not that it slowed him down much, and he turned 77 just the other day. My dad had been a beer drinker his whole life. Not to excess, but as a respite from the backbreaking work he did daily at the factory and as a volunteer fireman for 20 some years. It was perfect that he’d end the day with a can or two of cold suds. But one day a few years back he called and complained how he kept falling down and was getting all these nasty bruises.
“You gave up drinking beer, didn’t you, pop?”
“Well, yeah,” he replied a bit sheepishly, deferring to what the doctors were telling him to do.
“Gotta start drinking again, pop to get your balance back.”
It wasn’t about a week later that he called and said that he was having a beer. He’d started with a bit of beer daily earlier that week.
“Damned if I ain’t falling down any more.”
“Glad to hear you’re drinking again,” I said.
This beer is filled with character, and is as full-bodied as they come. Almost as much character as a Sid Yiddish video-google him. Any fuller and you’d need a knife and fork for this beer, but that’s a good thing. This truly is a beer to be pondered and discussed, and at 16% ABV you’ll find that perfect midwinter’s warmth to see you through those cold dark nights. I’m raising the glass yet again, this time to my dad. Pop, this one’s for you.
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For more info on He’brew Jewbelation Sweet 16 visit http://www.shmaltzbrewing.com/HEBREW/j16.html