4.1AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
As a beer critic I’m always excited to try new styles, whether they’re classic niche styles that are hard to find, or something a brewer comes up with on their own. He’Brew Genesis Ale is an example of the latter, and goes to show that not all experiments in brewery are destined for greatness.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer pours smoothly and forms an average-sized, off-white, soapy head which dissipates rather quickly and leaves very little lacing on the glass. It has a cloudy copper complexion, although no sediment is noticeable. The aroma is indicative of a heavily-hopped beer with a strong floral scent and hints of some sweet ingredients.
From what I understand the Shmaltz Brewing Company intends for Genesis Ale to be a cross between a “West Coast-style” pale ale and a brown ale. I’m all for experimentation if the results warrant it, but this beer does not.
The first sensation to hit me as I took my first sip was that of a strongly-flavored pale ale with a distinct hop bite and tart bitterness. However, as the beer finished it had a rich, sugary, caramel-like flavor that just didn’t seem to match. As I continued to drink I noticed the hop character was completely outshined by a syrup-like quality. Molasses, butterscotch and even pineapple seemed to be distinct ingredients – all of which can be attributes in the right context, but here it’s just a very strange concoction.
Genesis Ale reminded me of the expired Sam Adams Double Bock I sampled fairly recently, so I can’t help but wonder if this beer was past its prime as well. Unfortunately, there was no freshness dating indicator on the bottle.
With such a rich, strongly-hopped body it’s not wonder Genesis Ale was not exactly soft on my palate. It has a hard mouthfeel and a fairly rough finish that warms as it goes down. I prefer this in a heavily-spiced winter beer, but here it just reinforced my dislike of the flavor.
At least this beer has a proportional body. At 5.6% ABV it’s a bit heavy for a run-of-the-mill ale, but it certainly doesn’t feel heavy on my constitution. I was able to drink two bottles within a fairly short timespan without feeling overwhelmed or bloated in the least.
I did some research on the Shmaltz Brewing Co. (makers of the He’Brew and Coney Island beer lines) and discovered they do not actually brew their beer themselves. From what I understand, beers made by contract breweries tend to be very inconsistent and the wide range of ratings of these beers probably supports that idea. Do contract breweries have less (or any) quality assurance than in-house breweries? That might explain why I wasn’t too crazy about He’Brew Genesis Ale even though I really liked the Messiah Bold (and why other reviews of these beers have been so varied).
I’ll have to give this beer the benefit of the doubt and hope that I just got a bad batch. If I ever drink it again and the taste is completely different I’ll update this review. But until then, a bad-tasting beer is a bad beer to me.