A guy from Schmaltz Brewing Company contacted me after I reviewed one of their session beers, He'Brew Messiah Bold, about six weeks ago. He suggested trying out some of their 22 oz. offerings, so I decided on a trip to Total Wine yesterday that I'd take his advice, and picked up He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On the way into the store, I handed the store manager a Total Wine plastic bag full of folded used mixed-sixer packs. You should have seen the look I got, but he said they'd for sure reuse them. I'm green, you know.
After I decided on this beer for today, I thought maybe Friday night and Shabbat might not be the right night to review a He'Brew (The Chosen Beer) beer. Especially one that touts on its label that this is "The Tribute To Jewish Stars". Well, I have no idea how religious the brewery members are, but I guess they will see that I took their advice tomorrow night if they are observing Shabbat.
The Jewish Star (not the Star of David) they are speaking of and the Lenny in the name of the beer is comedian Lenny Bruce, and they put all sorts of info about him on the label too--his real name, his birth and death date, and some references to Obscene and Explicit Adult Material. Those references make a lot more sense when you read about Lenny being arrested and convicted for obscenity, followed by the first posthumous pardon in New York's history. Of course, if you are a big fan or are just old, you might have known that already and this is just a boring review for you.
OK. I have a lot to say about this beer, as it's very complex and I have a big 22 oz. bottle (AND I like to talk, too, in case you haven't noticed.) This is a Double IPA with Rye Malt and is "Kosher Certified, Rabbi Approved" if that matters to you. Also the usual, "Conceived in San Francisco, Brewed in [Saratoga Springs] New York". There is a killer hoppy and grapefruit, slightly sweet aroma. Up front, you get a big dose of the "Obscene Amount of Malts & Hops". Hoppy, citrus, floral and bitter flavors spar with lots of malty and caramel sweetness. Sweet wins the first round for sure, but as the beer progresses, you taste lots of spiciness along with the citrus and bitter and piney flavors on the rebound. A little further along, the almost invisible 10% alcohol does start to come out, but nicely and very subtly. The aftertaste is pretty good and lasts. While I prefer my IPA's to rock the hops the entire time and act little less sweet, this is a fine beer. You should try it too.