Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He’Brew Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass the Beer

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1241) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 16, 2014
It’s quite surprising that no brewery (to my knowledge) has released a Hanukkah-themed beer before. Though it’s NOT surprising that Shmaltz Brewing, which makes all Jewish-themed beers, would be the first to do so. Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass The Beer is a funny name for a beer, and despite it having eight malts, eight hops, and an ABV to match, it is only an okay brew since the flavors are mild and don’t seem all that well matched.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/24/14.

Appearance: A pretty shade of deep ruby red/light brown; translucent. Pours to a two-finger, off-white, foamy head which laces and retains fairly well.

Smell: Dark fruits, slight confectionery sweetness, some grassy hops; mild overall.

Taste: Whether this is a brown ale or a generic strong ale is rather irrelevant. It does contain characteristics of both styles, but conforms to neither. There’s a lot of dark fruit flavors which are immediately noticeable; figs, dates, cherries, etc. However, they’re not quite the same as you’d find in a Belgian brew and are a bit mild. A subtle underlying sweetness of caramel and an even more faint nutty character are also present. What’s surprising is how hoppy this beer is. Brewed with American and European hops, there’s a strong piney/resiny flavor through the middle, with a dry, grassy, spicy bitterness on the finish. I also pick up a strong astringency and tanginess right on the finish. It’s not that it’s bad, just that it’s distracting. These flavors are all fine individually, but they don’t work as a cohesive team. I really want to love this palette, but I’m finding it’s only alright.

Drinkability: I would not consider He’Brew Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass The Beer to be massively robust, nor does it have the body of such a beer. The mouthfeel is soft, calm, and smooth with only a medium body and no alcohol presence despite the 8% ABV weight. It’s easy to drink as it leaves little aftertaste, and it’s actually quite crisp as it crosses the tongue. For such a complex recipe it’s a little disappointing there’s not more of everything. 
Grade: 6/10

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