San Francisco was good for that, once I found the sellers; it's unlike most American cities I've been to in that there don't seem to be liquor stores on every other block. At the bluntly, yet appropriately named City Beer Store in San Francisco's SoMa, I made a choice that had almost been chosen for me - HE'BREW, the Chosen Beer, produced by the Shmaltz Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, New York. Specifically, I got a bottle of Messiah Bold: "THE BEER YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR."
I mean, seriously. How could anyone, Jewish or otherwise, pass up a pitch like that? I couldn't. So I bought the bottle, and since it was sufficiently blessed to make it from San Francisco to Vancouver in my checked baggage without disappearing, kept it in reserve for the proper day. With my rent issues resolved, I think today is that day.
The circa-1991 Diet Pepsi glass really adds something worthwhile here, I think.
First off, this beer is dark. So dark, in fact, that visually it appears identical to the Diet Pepsi that you'd expect to be filling that glass up there. It looked thick in the bottle, but in fact it poured with very little viscosity, and when it did pour it left only a whisper of a head fizzing on the surface. That in itself could make it a worthwhile component in some kind of prank on a teetotaler, assuming anyone still uses that word to describe themselves.
They'd have to be having olfactory problems, though. Messiah Bold has a fairly strong woody smell - it seemed most like oak to me, and was in fact very reminiscent of the Innis & Gunn oak aged beers, enough to make me suspect that it was brewed in a similar manner. According to the brewer's website it contains five varieties of malts as well as Warrior, Cascade, and Mt. Hood hops, though this didn't taste particularly hoppy to me.
The taste is musky - it fizzes on the tongue and there's not much of an aftertaste. It does, however, make me want to have a bowl of peanuts or pretzels at my elbow for the nibbling. It's also kosher, "certified to the strictest Orthodox standards" - and here I thought there was only kosher wine. Shows how much I know.
As for where to find this - in addition to much of the United States, which always gets the really interesting beers, HE'BREW is apparently available in Canada as well; both Alberta and British Columbia are marked on the map in blue, but only a list of Alberta wholesalers is currently available. Seeing as how Shmaltz also produces the Coney Island Craft Lagers, which I have seen available in British Columbia, I wouldn't be surprised if HE'BREW gets here soon if it hasn't already.
So do what the bottle says, and drink to life!
ANDREW'S RATING: 4/5
Previous Quaff Reviews
- #14: Mackinac Pale Ale
- #13: Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
- #12: Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
- #11: La Loubécoise
- #10: Summer Honey Seasonal Ale
- #9: Earthquake High Gravity Lager
- #8: Route des épices
- #7: Sparks Plus
- #6: Hurricane High Gravity Lager
- #5: L'Indépendante
- #4: Antigravity Light Ale
- #3: Nektar
- #2: Innis & Gunn Original
- #1: Abbey Belgian Spiced Ale