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Monday, April 22,2013

Review: Shmaltz's Funky Jewbelation brings a complex blend

By Steve Weishampel
Courtesy of Shmaltz Brewing Company

After one of the roughest days in a while here at the office — it’s Best of Boulder time — we hauled out the big guns.

In this case, the big guns came in the mail courtesy of New York’s Shmaltz Brewing Company, the brewers maybe best known for Jewish-based pun beer titles under the HE’BREW label and the delicious Messiah nut brown ale.

We’d gotten a sample of the latest special release from Shmaltz, a bizarre-sounding blend in a 22-ounce bottle that they’re calling Funky Jewbelation. Funky J is a blend of six ales and lagers, Shmaltz says, aged in two different liquor barrels, 55 percent in bourbon barrels and 45 percent in rye whiskey barrels. It might be the most involved beer we’ve seen.

At 9.4 percent ABV, Funky J ain’t no joke. It pours pitch black with a red wine aroma, and the first taste isn’t far off that mark either. Funky J is — couldn’t you guess? — complex, to say the least. It’s sour, but it’s also got a kind of brown sugar sweetness. It tiptoes the line between sour beer and brown ale, if there is such a line.

Staff tosses out any number of comparisons and flavors they detect in the brew. Elizabeth cites a wine finish and aroma; Joel mentions prunes in the aftertaste.

“It’s pretty tasty,” David says.

“Heavy-duty. Pretty powerful stuff,” adds Jeff.

Staff agrees taking down a whole bottle of Funky J would be tough on your own. But it’s a perfect brew the way we’re drinking it — grab one and a few friends and pass it around, and you’ve got a pretty fascinating topic of conversation.

The beers within Funky J, Shmaltz says, are the following: Jewbelation Fifteen; Origin; Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.; Messiah; Coney Islands Lager; and Albino Python.

See Shmaltz's distribution in Colorado here.

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Thank you for the shout out, Steve! Cheers!