HE'BREW Brings Chosen Beer to Texas
Shmaltz Brewing Product is Certified Kosher and It's Got Schtick
By Amy Kritzer, 11:25AM, Wed. Oct. 24, 2012
It seems that new brands of beer pop up almost daily in our fine brew-loving town. No complaints here! Amongst the many additions is the only Jewish heritage beer for Texas' chosen people.
Proprietor Jeremy Cowan first thought of the idea for Shmaltz Brewing and their line of HE’BREW beers in high school. He and his buddies joked about how funny it would be to have a kosher beer and call it HE’BREW. (Ha- get it?) Plenty of people have punny business ideas, but then Cowan actually acted on it.
Cowan started the company in 1996 (or 5757 for those following a Hebrew calendar) with Genesis- their flagship beer. Initially he worked with local Jewish groups, synagogues, and Jewish festivals. But as the craft beer community grew, he started gearing his beer for these enthusiasts. These days, according to Rate Beer, it’s one of the top 50 brewers in the world. According to Zak Davis, a National Sales Manager at Shmaltz Brewing, they don’t sacrifice quality beer for a humorous product: “We take elements of Jewish tradition and shtick and infuse them into a product that still stands alone as quality craft beer.”
So the Bubbe approved brew is certified kosher, of course, and it’s got shtick, but what else makes it Jewish? HE’BREW bases their beers on the Seven Species mentioned in the Bible- figs, dates, barley, wheat, pomegranate, grapes, and olives. Okay, olive is the only one they haven’t mastered- yet, that is. Davis says that Cowan is the visionary for the company. He is always coming up with new ideas for their company (finger’s crossed for a kosher for Passover beer!) He aims to be edgy and interesting, but also genuine and educational.
What’s next for Shmaltz? They recently launched Reunion Ale ’12- a dark imperial ale brewed in cocoa nibs, cinnamon and vanilla- in conjunction with Terrapin Beer Co. Not only does this beer sound delicious, but it benefits the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. Why not commit a mitzvah while imbibing?
Just in time for the holiday season, Shmaltz’s 3rd Annual HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack features eight unique 12 oz. bottles of beers, custom glass, Chanukah candles, and instructions on “How To Build Your Own Beer Menorah”! (Make sure to put this one on your list for Hanukkah Harry!) The puns don’t stop with HE’BREW. Every year the line comes out with an anniversary beer called Jewbelation. This year is their Sweet 16th anniversary, so Jewbelation has 16 malts, 16 hops and (wait for it) is 16 percent alcohol. That is not a misprint. It is 22 ounces of glory, with a mirrored and hot pink label covered in cupcakes and unicorns. The beer is super dark and super flavorful. Hints vanilla, chocolate, nuttiness, a little coconut, and not as much bitterness as one would expect. Christ, that’s good beer!
How did HE’BREW make its way to Texas? After receiving more emails to bring their beer to Texas than any other state, they launched in Austin, Dallas and Houston just this past April during SXSW (see you can make a difference!) And we are already their number three market! Now you are probably thinking, WHERE CAN I GET THE BEER? Great question! HE’BREW can be found in H-E-B, Spec’s, Whole Foods, Central Market in addition to bars all over including Hopfields, Whip In, and more.
Guest blogger Amy Kritzer writes about Jewish recipes with a modern twist on What Jew Wanna Eat.