Perfect for Chanukah, from the Shmaltz Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, New York comes this their big holiday ninth anniversary ale brewed from 9000 lbs of malt and 9 hop varieties and comes in at a weighty 9%. The SBC appears to be a one person contract brewing operation from some of the posts on its website and, in addition to these annual ales, brews Genesis Ale and Messiah Bold. It would appear that the bottle of "9" I have in hand was brewed at the Mendocino Brewing Co's eastern headquarters in Saratoga Springs. They have also worked with Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville, California. It is certified kosher according to one news article quoted on the SBC's website:
To attain kosher certification, he brought up Los Angeles' Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon to Boonville, where the ponytailed brewmeister and the devout rabbi got along famously. Since beer manufacturing doesn't involve a lot of lard or lobster, Lisbon's main concern was making sure that the cleaning products were in adherence to Orthodox kosher standards.I'll have some notes later tonight after I pop the top but it is good to see that the BAer's give it 100% thumbs up and describe it as an Imperial Brown Ale. That has to be good.
Wow. Deep red mahogony under a light mocha head that resolves to a rim. The heat is constrained by masses of malt skillfully cut by the hop selection. What fruit and flavour is not in this ale? Plum, chocolate, pear, black cherry can all be coaxed out if you put your mind to it. All in waves of grain, early on the silk of oats but then, later, a hard grainy crust of pale malt, too. The subdued hops also play out in order: lime citrus followed by twig then on to green. The finish has a cheeky black malt note that peeks and then is gone. Really amazing.