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
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
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.