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.