Shmaltz Brewing – Coney Island Sword Swallower

Tasting: June 5, 2011
Style: Lager (IPA Style)

The coolest collection of bottles in the beer aisle (at least label-wise) are the offerings of Shmaltz Brewing. Their Coney Island series labels are retro sideshow posters. I really dig the graphics. I read that proceeds from this beer go to the restoration of Coney Island. I’m happy to pay my $4.99 for this bomber for a good cause. The colorful label also lends a bit of mystery to this beer. It’s a lager — but it’s called “IPA (India Pale Ale) style”. Basically they use an IPA recipe but substitute the ale yeast in favor of a lager yeast for fermentation. An interesting approach that only a beer geek would notice. The main difference between an ale and a lager is in the yeast that is used in fermentation. Ale yeast ferments on the top and lends some flavor to the beer. Lager yeast ferments the beer from the bottom of the tank and doesn’t really lend any flavors to the beer — leaving that to the malt and hops. This one is also dry-hopped — the practice of adding kiln-dried hops to fermenting beer. One last label note — 7.2% ABV.

Pour is a light yellowish color with bright white head sweet malt and floral nose. If you’ve ever driven past the Budweiser brewery in Newark — it’s that same familiar smell that fills the air around the brewery (insert your own New Jersey odor jokes here). My first couple of gulps, I get a dry malt flavor and that’s it. It really reminds me of my home brewing days when I used malt extract (don’t negatively judge me — I did graduate to using grains). I don’t get much in the way of hops as this is definitely a malt forward brew. The hops do come creeping in at the finish and lend only a timid bitterness. This one certainly isn’t offensive. It’s really an okay beer/ale — I’ll give it 82.

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