Wherever you are in the world, sundown today marks the beginning of Hannukah (or Chanukah, or any one of several different ways of spelling the word), so of course we have to feature the latest anniversary offering from the Schmaltz Brewing Company, He'Brew Jewbelation 15. You may remember last year, when we featured Jewbelation 14, we mentioned that when Schmaltz brews a new Jewbelation each year they make it with the same number of hops and malts as the anniversary, so this year we have:
Malts: Specialty 2-Row, Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Chocolate, Crystal Rye, Dark Crystal, Rye Ale, CaraMunich 40, CaraPilsner, Kiln Amber, Chocolate Wheat, Flaked Spelt, Flaked Oats, Flaked Quinoa
Hops: Ahtanum, Amarillo, Apollo, Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Columbus, Crystal, Fuggle, Golding, Palisade, Simcoe, Summit, Tettnang, Willamette
The ABV of each release also matches the number, so this will be a 15% beer. Oy vey! Apart from wondering how long they can keep this up, you also have to wonder if all those ingredients make a better beer. There's a saying that less is more, and if we cast our minds back to the summer we might remember Gold Deluxe, a Brewluminati beer from Independence made with but one malt (Maris Otter) and one hop variety (Sorachi Ace), and which many local beer geeks, including this one, have said is their favourite Brewluminati beer so far. Having never tasted any of the Jewbelation beers I'm in no position to say for sure whether the extra ingredients improve the taste, but I'd be very interested to find out. If the brewers at Schmaltz can pull it off they are to be admired and respected. The reviews on Beer Advocate are mostly positive so I reckon they must be doing it right.
As a matter of fact, Jewbelation 15 isn't the only special release from Schmaltz Brewing this Hannukah. Genesis 15:15 is a barley wine made with juices or extracts from four of the Seven Species - seven agricultural products that are considered particularly significant to Jews because of their association with Israel. The Seven Species are wheat, barley, figs, dates, pomegranates, olives and grapes. The four are pomegranates, dates, figs and grapes, and since we know that beer is made from barley and that there's a good chance that Schmaltz have added some wheat to the grain bill, that would mean the beer includes six of the Seven, which leaves me pondering as to whether they somehow managed to incorporate olives into the mix too and make it a clean sweep. My research hasn't confirmed this... yet.
And since this is the season of giving and receiving gifts, Schmaltz has come up with a gift pack that contains eight beers (including one bottle of Jewbelation 15 and a random surprise bottle of vintage Jewbelation from releases eight to fourteen), a Schmaltz Brewing glass, some Hannukah candles and instructions on how to create your own beer menorah from the bottles. A Hannukah menorah has nine candle holders so I guess you have to provide your own shamash bottle.