Review: Shmaltz’s Funky Jewbelation brings a complex blend

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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.