Shmaltz Brings the Funk with Funky Jewbelation | Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Aficionado

Shmaltz Brings the Funk with Funky Jewbelation

Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Funky Jewbelation, the newest addition to its Limited Engagement Barrel-Aged series, mashes together six beers aged for varying times in rye and bourbon barrels and is now available in stores.

The liquids used to create Funky Jewbelation, which pairs well with a flavorful mild- to medium-bodied cigar, have been aged for anywhere between one to 14 months. Jeremy Cowan, owner of Shmaltz, says that 73 percent of the blend saw time in whiskey barrels originally used for Sazerac Six-Year-Old Rye Whiskey, while the other 27 percent was aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels.

This barrel-aging process imparts hints of vanilla and toast into Funky Jewbelation, which, if it had to be defined, borders somewhere between a porter and black cascade IPA. In addition, the Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale used in the blend adds a healthy dose of the distinctive dark fruit to the beer’s flavor. The beer carries a high alcohol content, too, making it a good candidate for aging. According to Cowan, as Funky Jewbelation ages, the brew’s sour and earthy farmhouse notes will become more evident while the chocolate sweetness rounds out and slowly fades away.

In all, the beer combines liquid from Shmaltz’s Jewbelation 15 (aged three months), Vintage Jewbelation (aged nine months), Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. (aged one month), Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale (aged 14 months), Reunion Ale '11 (aged seven months) and Messiah Nut Brown Ale (aged 14 months).

Known for its edgy marketing and category-defying beers, Shmaltz Brewing was established in San Francisco in 1996, and now brews its beers in Saratoga Springs, New York. While Funky Jewbelation is a limited release, it still can be found in 35 states (for a complete list, see and will be available on limited draft.

Funky Jewbelation (9.8 percent alcohol by volume, $13 for 22 oz. bottle)

APPEARANCE: Pours black like a heavy porter, with the slightest tinge of red. A tan head, about a finger deep, develops from the pour but soon dissipates. Little to no lacing.

AROMA: Strong bouquet of cherry and black currant with hints of vanilla, toffee, grapefruit and chocolate nibs.

PALATE: A tart hit of pomegranate and cherries on the start turns into an elegant blend of milk chocolate, espresso and toffee at the midpalate. A citrusy, bubble-gum finish coats the mouth, lingering until the next welcomed sip.

CIGAR PAIRING: My Father Flor de las Antillas Robusto (90 points, Cigar Insider) The beer plays well with this Nicaraguan puro, ramping up the sweetness of the smoke into more of a nougat flavor. Solid interplay between the two.

"This is exciting. He'Brew's barrel aged beers have been outstanding. This seems to be the most interesting to date! Can't wait to get this." —July 24, 2012 15:41 PM