When you think “Chanukah” the first thing that pops to mind is, of course, “beer.” Or perhaps not. But in any event, there is no holiday, secular or religious, that cannot be made better with a generous application of beer.
In that spirit, Taps Petaluma is teaming up with New York’s Shmaltz Brewing Company, makers of the HE’BREW line of beer, for a Chanukah-themed pint night on Thursday, starting at 7 p.m.The only bad news is that the massive new Jewbelation Reborn will not be on tap, but the lineup looks pretty good anyway, with three new offerings – Reunion ’13, a collaboration ale with Georgia’s Terrapin Beer Company, featuring cocoa nibs, vanilla, coffee, and cinnamon (really); Death of a Contract Brewer, the company’s first black IPA; and St. Lenny’s, a Belgian-style double IPA – and the second vintage of RIPA on Rye, a rye double IPA aged in whiskey barrels.
If some of these beer titles have an unusually celebratory tone, there is a reason. Shmaltz has been on a strange odyssey for the last 17 years and it has finally found a home. It started here in the Bay Area in 1996 and was for a long time contract brewed at Anderson Valley up in Mendocino County. In 2003, they switched over to Mendocino Brewing and started contract brewing at the company’s plant in Saratoga, New York.
Just this year, though, owner Jeremy Cowan finally scored a permanent headquarters, opening a new brewery in Clifton Park, New York. He also sold his associated Coney Island brand to Alchemy and Science, a venture by Sam Adams founder Jim Koch, along with a couple of the early creators of Vermont’s Magic Hat, to nurture new breweries and help older breweries rebrand or reposition existing products.
The Petaluma tap night is part of a series of events nationally to mark Chanukah and celebrate the end of what has turned out to be a very good year for Shmaltz.
– Sean Scully