Friday, November 20, 2015

Shmaltz He'Brew Death of a Contract Brewer Review

Name: Shmaltz He'Brew Death of a Contract Brewer
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 70 (supposedly)

Up until recently, Shmaltz Brewing did all of their brewing at other facilities via contract brewing for the past 18 1/2 years until they recently opened up a place to call their own in Clifton Park, New York. To commemorate this event, they released a new beer called Death of a Contract Brewer, a black IPA made with 7 different types of hops and 7 different types of malts.

You may have noticed that everything in this beer revolves around the number 7. It's not just a coincidence, this is actually intentional. There is a Jewish tradition called Shiva, meaning "Seven" in Hebrew. For seven days, family mourns the loss of a family member who passed away. The tradition also says that it is customary for visitors to bring offerings of food to the family of the deceased. Since the brewery had recently stopped contract brewing, this beer was brewed to acknowledge this event and also to turn a new chapter in the life of the brewery. Even during my interview with Jeremy Cowan, we discussed this beer for a bit, which is one of the reasons I decided to grab it while I was at the store the other day

Appearance - Very Dark brown that almost comes across as completely black. The beer itself takes on a dark crimson color along the edges when held up to a light. The head is pretty thin for the most part and has a light brown color to it, along with some moderate lacing.

Aroma - Strong bitter piney hops with notes of grapefruit rinds. Towards the back I'm getting some of that roasted barley scent and a good amount of chocolate maltiness & coffee grounds that gives this beer sort of a chocolate orange aroma.

Taste - Interestingly enough, it's very roasty in the front of the palate along with some of that chocolate maltiness. In the middle though is where I'm starting to get some of that potent bitter hoppiness, which lingers throughout the rest of the flavor. On the back end of the palate, that hop bitterness is joined by some coffee grounds and mild grapefruit notes, all of which linger on long after you take a sip. The hoppiness becomes a lot more prominent as the beer warms up to the point where it takes equal footing with the malty & roasty elements of the flavor.

I'll be honest, I was all ready to call this more of a Black Ale rather than a Black IPA, but as I let it warm up, that hoppiness really starts to shine through and gives the overall flavor a much needed balance. Even if this were a Black Ale, I still think this is a great beer to commemorate the transition from contract to having a place to call your own.

Shmaltz He'Brew Death of a Contract Brewer - 9/10

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