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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tap Handle #522: Shmaltz - HE'BREW

Tap size:  8.5"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is a great little tap featuring a bust of a Jewish man holding up a sign that reads "HE'BREW THE CHOSEN BEER". Below the man is a bow tie shaped banner with "Shmaltz Brewing Co." written in cursive. On the back of the banner appears the now-familiar letters of an S inside of a C, and a copyright date of 2005, which dates the tap's origin to the Mendocino Saratoga Springs contract brewing period. The rest of the base is simply a shaft with the words "Est. 5757 1996". At first this seems to make no sense - how could the brewery be established in 5757? This is easily explained by the fact that 1996 in our calendar year corresponds to the year 5757 in the Jewish calendar. Mystery solved! This tap is used for all varieties, and is very rare and hard to find - which makes it expensive. If you plan on acquiring one, pay particular attention to all of the lettering on the tap - it is all sculpted and three dimensional, which makes it easy to chip.

Click through to read more about Shmaltz brewing, their HE'BREW brand of beers, and to see more photos of this schlocky tap (see, I can poke fun through the use of shtick too!)...

Shmaltz Brewing Company was founded in San Francisco, California in 1996 by Jeremy Cowan. A San Francisco native, Cowan attended Stanford University and earned a degree in English. HE’BREW began as an inside joke among friends. Cowan and his friends lamented that there were no Jewish breweries, and if they founded a brewery of their own they’d use the tagline “don’t Pass Out, Passover.” In 1996 the small group of friends brewed 100 cases and hand labeled each bottle, with each case delivered by Cowan while driving his grandmother’s Volvo. The first recipe required pomegranate juice, but since they couldn't find it anywhere, they ended up squeezing pomegranates on the floor of Cowan's apartment. The company's name referred to Shmaltz, a type of cooking fat that is frequently associated with Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. Surprised by demand for the product, in 1997 Cowan struck a deal to have his beer contract brewed by Mendocino Brewing Company, and distribution expanded to small craft beer wholesalers in California, Chicago and New York. In 2003 Shmaltz began packaging Genesis Ale and Messiah Nut Brown Ale in six-packs and moved production to Mendocino Brewing Company's facility in Saratoga Springs, NY.

In 2007, Shmaltz released a new line of craft brewed lagers under the Coney Island banner. The Coney Island Brand was later acquired by Alchemy and Science, owned by Boston Beer (Sam Adams). Cowan had been contract brewing for years but felt the time was right to brew his own beer. Initially he pursued a site in Wilton, New York. When that property fell through, a space in Clifton Park, New York offered the ideal combination of location and space. He moved into the 20,000 square foot building in 2013 and later took over an additional 20,000 square feet of space to double production capacity. The facility includes ample space for brewing, labeling, packaging and storing the beer as well as a 1,700 square foot tasting room open to the public. Nearly 20 employees, including five brewers, work out of the facility. The brewery also offers internships to provide real world experience in multiple areas of business from event coordination, promotions, marketing and sales to specialty foods and craft beer.

Also in 2013, Shmaltz was ranked as one of the "Top 100 Brewers in the World" by, which came on the heels of the brewery's 9 gold and 5 silver medals won in the World Beer Championships in 2012, as well as gold medals won in 2010 and 2011. A recipient of the "Distinguished Business Award" by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the brewery was also included in the "Top 50 Fastest Growing Bay Area Companies" by San Francisco Business Times. Their beers are currently distributed in over 37 states, and they produce about 30,000 barrels annually - almost of third of which is He’Brew, Shmaltz’s most popular brand, which includes 6 core beers. All of the brewery's beers are kosher. The brewery also has an acclaimed barrel-aging program with a current inventory of more than 300 bourbon, rye whiskey, and tequila barrels. The 1,700 square foot tasting room is a place where visitors can sample a variety of fresh Shmaltz beers, tour the facility, and learn about the beer-making process.

HE'BREW Beer is widely recognized for its playful yet earnest study of Jewish, world, and pop cultural histories. Each label of HE'BREW Beer lists facts and quotations related to the beer’s inspiration and its ingredients. For example, Origin, an imperial amber pomegranate ale, pays tribute to the original 1996 HE'BREW beer made with pomegranates, and its label contains facts, ancient mythology, and pop cultural references to pomegranates. Another component of HE'BREW’s marketing is its “shtick”, which incorporates Jewish religious references into the beers’ names and slogans. Genesis Ale is aptly named because it was the first HE'BREW creation, and the tagline to Messiah Nut Brown Ale is “the beer you’ve been waiting for,” which alludes to the Jewish belief that the promised savior of the world has yet to come. They also couldn’t help but poke a little fun at contract brewing, which they had used successfully for so long, with their black IPA release, Death of a Contract Brewer.

HE'BREW Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale is a new recipe that replaces the original HE’BREW Genesis Ale. It balanced between a West Coast style pale and amber ale with just enough malt sweetness to highlight a flurry of hop aroma and flavor. It is a World Beer Championship silver medal winner.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.23 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  83 out of 100 (good)

Schmaltz Brewing Company
6 Fairchild Square
Clifton Park, New York, 12065

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