Posted by: Scott | April 22, 2010

Genesis Ale Review

He’Brew’s Genesis Ale (also known as “The Chosen Beer”), must have been created by Lames Bond, breaking in his license to pun. I usually dislike this type of humor (because, as you just saw, I suck at it), but this punster fooled with the forces of Jewish linguistics, and he best prepare to get Chomskied. By combining the word Hebrew, the name of a widespread Semitic language, with the phrase “He brew,” he has insinuated that all Jews talk like cavemen. And that’s religist.

Actually, I love puns. This one came from Jeremy Cowan, a Jewish San Franciscan who started Shmaltz Brewing Company as a way to spotlight the unrecognized relationship between beer and Judaism. When Jewish Europeans began migrating to America, many of them preferred wine and other beverages fermented from fruits, but some — such as Samuel Leibmann, who laid the groundwork for the famous Rheingold brand — helped fill the new world’s glass with beer instead. But Jeremy Cowan started Shmaltz more than a century later, and we’ll soon find out whether his testament to Jewish brewing really deserves canonization.

Brewery: Shmaltz Brewing Company
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 28
Glassware: Pint Glass, Mug
Serving Temp: 50°F
Price Range: $1-$2 per 12 oz. bottle


Let me clarify something about the style listed above. According to Beer Advocate, Genesis Ale is an American brown ale, and on the bottle you’ll see the words “light brown ale.” All signs point to an ale of the brown variety. Most browns are moderately dark, but as this poured, I almost mistook it for an amber! The light bronze body; the soapy, off-white head; and the nonexistent lacing all strained the limits of that “light” on the label. Unless we’re talking about an actual light beer. But we aren’t.

Further research revealed that Genesis Ale is actually a cross between a west-coast-style pale ale and an amber, which of course explains the color. Thanks for the accurate labeling, guys. My frustration soon received more fuel: After all that, this thing has the audacity to smell like a brown ale, with mild, malty aromas of nuts and dark fruit. (A hint of floral hops keeps me from completely losing it.) Wait — I’ve seen this before. This beer suffers from dissociative identity disorder. Perhaps a taste will clear things up.

Genesis Ale greets me with a warm maltiness, but then different tastes attack. Their bite is sharp, metallic. The subject strives for the hoppy bitterness of an English-style pale ale but continuously comes off tart, astringent, almost medicinal. Some earthy, bready notes soften up the palate. Malt is dominant overall. Even with a dominant personality, however, each flavor lacks substantive depth, and their sum gropes for complexity in numbers, but only creates confusion out of blandness; the sensations encountered in the first sip barely differ from those on the last. (The metallic bite does subside somewhat over time, though.) Finishing the session, I notice the medium body and semi-crisp carbonation that somehow seem syrupy and flat, the aftertaste that stops at a bitter tinge on the tongue.

In the end, Genesis Ale lives up to its name, tasting like a first attempt. I hesitate to use a word stronger than “mediocre,” seeing as I finished my glass without a problem, but I doubt I’ll buy another bottle. The more I drank, the less I wanted to. But with beer names like “Jewbelation Ale” and “Rejewvenator” (plus an awesome-sounding double IPA brewed with rye), I’ll probably give Shmaltz another shot at some point.

Food Pairing:

This beer didn’t exactly shriek for any food in particular, which means it will probably pair well with a typical beer food. Pizza springs to mind. Genesis Ale should perform admirably in washing down a greasy mouthful of cheese and sauce without interfering with the flavors.

Monday: The second installment of Fighting Flagships!



  1. Yeah, I actually enjoyed the puns “L’chlaim to life” and all… but that’s about it… I choked it down (okay, exaggerating a bit there – I just didn’t like it) so I could save the bottle for its amusement, but that’s about it. I haven’t seen these other jewish beers yet, so this is my limited experience for now.

    • To be honest … I enjoyed the puns too. My first paragraph is all farce. But the rest of it (i.e., how I felt about the beer) is completely honest, so I’m right there with you.

  2. Yeah, Genesis Ale isn’t too hot, but I’d recommend you give other He’brews a try. Most of their beers are fairly good, even if they’re never excellent. It’s nothing to seek out specifically, but if you happen to see one, go ahead and grab it.

    • I definitely plan to try some of their others! The three I mentioned at the end for starters. That rye DIPA in particular caught my interest.

  3. i bought most of their varieties for a hannukah party this past winter and they were all met with distaste. i don’t support anything they make, though i did down a ton of it. mainly because, dammit, i paid for it.

    • That’s disheartening. And I know the feeling. If I paid for a beer, it has to be absolutely undrinkable for me to drain-pour it. If I got it for free or something, however … I don’t feel as bad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: