Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the Tenth First Day Night of Christmas Chanukah...

...my bubala gave to me - He'Brew Messiah Bold, Schmaltz Brewing Company, San Francisco, California, USA.

So, this one's not technically a Christmas beer—or even a holiday beer. It is however a Jewish beer, and since tonight is the first night of Chanukah, I thought what better way to celebrate that other late-December holiday, than with a Judaic-themed brown ale? With all the stuffing of stockings and caroling of carols, I figured it might be nice to acknowledge the Festival of Lights in my own Gentile manner—by drinking beer, in the dark, in front of my computer. I'll be honest, I've been chomping at the bit to do this one since the beginning of the month; I was hoping Schamltz would brew an actual Chanukah beer this year, but alas, after forty days of wandering in the desert, I found none—none at Oliver's at least. Anyway, If they don't even bother to make one, why should I worry about some mashugana beer? Oy, with the schleping all over the town already! All this work, with the writing and the drinking, why do I bother?   

I will admit to not knowing if I used any of those last few sentences correctly, it just felt right—maybe a bit goyish, but I'm all right with that. Either way—onto the beer.

It pours a cherry wood brown, with amber highlights and a nice, coffee-colored, fluffy head. It has a chocolatey, burnt sugar aroma that reminds me of Coca-Cola, and there's almost a smokey quality to it as well. The first thing I tasted, with this one, was brown sugar—like sweet, rummy, full-flavored Muscovado dark. There's a hint of stone-fruit tartness, like plum, but only in the background. It doesn't have a heavy hop presence, but you are left with a nice bitterness. It's called Messiah Bold, and I'll agree to that—It brings a good bit of roasted, sweet flavor, and it's definitely drinkable. I could see myself getting a belly full of brisket and eating my weight in latkes; then topping off the nights off with a few Messiah Bolds—throw in some some boisterous games of spin the dreidel, and I'm good to go. It's the Festival of Lights folks, so fire up the menorah and חנוכה שמח!

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