364. Schmaltz Brewing – He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.

Schmaltz Brewing - He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.As I’ve mentioned in the last several reviews, I was at  Bruegala beer festival in Bloomington, IL.  I had an extra sample ticket left and was looking for something to try.  I’ve always thought Schmaltz beers were pretty solid, and I was looking for something solid and hoppy to leave the event with.  When I got to the table with this beer, I have no idea why the label was on upside down, but it was.

Location: Enjoyed a 3oz sample, in a sampling glass, at Bruegala in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 10% ABV, ~ 294 Calories

Ingredients: Malts: 2-row, Rye Ale Malt, Torrified Rye, Crystal Rye 75, Crystal Malt 80, Wheat, Kiln Amber, CaraMunich 60. Hops: Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo, Centennial. Dry Hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo and Crystal.

Appearance & Aroma: It’s reddish-amber in color and clear with a thin, creamy, cream-colored head.  There’s a grainy caramel malt aroma with a bit of nuttiness to it as well.

Taste & Feel:  It has a solid body and a fairly creamy and smooth mouthfeel.  Up front, it’s exactly how it smells – sweet and malty with caramel and a bit of a nutty flavor.  Somewhere in the middle, the bitterness kicks in delivering a citrus hop flavor that tries to match up to the big malt flavors.  While there is a decent amount of hop bitterness, the caramel malt flavors come back through in the finish, along with a bit of alcohol warmth as you take a few more sips.

Food Pairing: This is a big beer, which demands a hearty, flavorful meal to stand up to it.  I would probably go with BBQ, as I think the bit malty flavors would go well with some sweet BBQ sauces.

Overall Impression: Most of Schmaltz beers seem to have a solid malt backbone, and this one was no different – especially coming in at 10% ABV.  There was plenty of nice malt flavor, with a nice big hop bill to follow, and true to its name, it offered a bitter and sweet flavor.  However, I was expecting it to be a little more toward the hoppy side, as most IPAs are.  In this beer, the malt wins, although, it’s still a very good beer with a really nice malt flavor.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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