“Completely shocking,” says Shmaltz Brewing Co. proprietor, Jeremy Cowan, when asked about the longevity of his brewery. In fact, Cowan says he is still not sure how it’s even possible that the first 100 cases of Shmaltz—handcrafted as an experiment for Hanukkah in 1996—have grown into the production of over 10,000 barrels a year internationally.
“When I started Shmaltz, it was really just an experiment,” Cowan says. “I just thought it would be fun and funny to make this country’s first and only Jewish celebration beer.”
In celebration of the 15th year, a series of new and repackaged brews are being released, including the appropriately named Jewbelation 15 and Genesis 15:15. There is even a new book that chronicles the company’s first 13 years called, "Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah", which includes a list of suggested beers to accompany each chapter.
All of Shmaltz's Hebrew beers are kosher certified by Kosher Supervision of America, according to Cowan.
Cowan isn’t the only brewer making Jewish-themed beers. This Hanukkah also saw the introduction of the “8 Malty Nights” at Lampoc Brewing.
The chocolate rye porter (also known as “The Hanukkah Beer”) was added to the collection of nine holiday seasonal beers produced in 2011 by Lampoc Brewing, a small brewery located in Portland, Ore., said head brewer Dave Flemming.
Lampoc Brewing decided to create the beer after one of its brewers, Sam Orlansky, who is Jewish, wanted to make a holiday beer. “It sounded like a great idea and I love rye beers,” said Flemming, who added that he saw the beer as a fun way of reaching out to the Jewish community.
Rather than being sold by the bottle, the beer, which Flemming described as “creamy and rich, like a Guiness pour”, was sold over the holiday on a nitrogenated tap.
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