I was at the liquor store Friday night buying wine and beer for our Christmas party on Saturday night, and the shelves were full of winter ales and holiday stouts. What I didn’t see was a Hanukkah inspired beer, not that I was really looking for one.

I was amused to read in Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig LeBan’s blog over the weekend about Jewbelation, a kosher beer for the Jewish holiday by He’Brew – The Chosen Beer. Amused not because there’s a Jewish beer, but amused with the clever name and LeBan’s review.

Christmas always inspires the best in beer-makers, who turn out their most opulently spiced brews for the season. So why not a jolly Hanukkah beer, too?

The crafty folks at He'Brew (a.k.a. "the Chosen Beer"), have answered that prayer with Jewbelation 12, a big-boy dark ale that really lit my menorah.

Heh, it lit his menorah. Hokey, or should I say schmaltzy, but funny.  According to LeBan, Jewbelation “packs real chutzpah into a bottle.”

The folks at epicurious like Jewbelation, too, and have named it one of their top five holidays beers.

It may be tempting to write off this Hanukkah beer as a gimmick, but to do so would be a mistake, as this is one serious brew. Twelve malts, including rye and spelt, and 12 varieties of hop combine to make a potent (12 percent) and remarkably complex jigsaw puzzle of a brew with a forceful personality and long, lingering finish.

I appreciate a good, dark beer so if I happen upon Jewbelation at a restaurant or liquor store, this gentile just might be giving this Jewish beer a taste test. 

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