“To a great year!” so cheered Rabbi Cowan….err, I mean founder of Shmaltz Brewing Company, Jeremy Cowan. Hundreds of Cowan’s devotees made the pilgrimage to Clifton Park today to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the $3.3 million facility.
If you recognize the witty labels it’s because the beer has been around a lot longer than a year. The idea was actually born in Cowan’s apartment bedroom in San Francisco, almost 20 years ago, as a total experiment. “I wanted to make the world’s first and only Jewish celebration beer,” said Cowan.
Inspired by one-liners from comedians like Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks and Henny Youngman, Cowan quickly took advantage of the parallels between his faith – Judaism and his passion – craft beer. A little irreverent humor combined with many days without rest and before long the He’Brew® beer was being marketed and sold nationally in 40 states. Some of the ‘chosen names’ include Genesis, Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A and Hop Manna.
But there’s a lot more to Shmaltz than schtick. The booming booze industry has returned to the age-old method of making beer by barrel-aging. Using rye, whiskey and bourbon wooden oak barrels, small breweries like Shmaltz are patiently reinventing new flavors and aromas. The downside is having to wait three, four, six, up to 12 months for the beer to mature. “We even have a couple tequila barrels that we are experimenting with,” prides Cowan.
Want to know more? Enjoy this video I shot and edited of the anniversary celebration on May 17th, 2014. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO.