"I have quite a few favorites, but Tweak stands out for me. We tend to make a lot of 15-18% ABV beers, and on most of them I advise splitting the bottle between two or three people. Tweak is the one exception -- I never thought I'd be interested in drinking an entire bottle of an 18% ABV coffee-infused, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, but this beer proved me wrong. It can also be used for a killer beer float. Or as a substitute for your morning coffee as long as you don't need to drive anywhere." -- Andy Parker, chief barrel herder
San Jose del Cabo, B.C.S. Mexico
"One of the best beers we've created is an amber ale called Peliroja (aka Baja Red) which translates to 'Red Head.' My goal was to create an amber ale for the hotter weather that could be highly drinkable but with great amber flavor. It was a very challenging beer to make because you need to have the right balance between the malt and hops, which can be tricky. -- Jordan Gardenhire, brewmaster
Double IPA, 8%
Clifton Park, NY
"There are quite a few beers that I've been really surprised by -- every brewer wants each recipe to be one of those 'knocked it outta the park' brews, but this simply can’t happen every time. At Shmaltz, we were offered some really sweet hops by a friend that we had never used before (the hops are known as Calypso and now have a great reputation).
"Our foray with Calypso was set to be a double IPA, but we needed it to be really drinkable, not one of those big, chewy beers that people were used to recognizing as an imperial IPA. We had some internal jokes about the beer being a session beer as well as a double; with a little bit of silly, tongue-in-cheek marketing prompted right at the time of the release of the beer, one of my favorite projects was embraced by beer drinkers everywhere, and simultaneously shunned by a few bloggers who had seen our press release/marketing before being able to take a sip of the light-golden goodness of what had become Wishbone, the first-ever session double IPA proudly brewed by Shmaltz.
"We couldn’t have been happier! At an 8% ABV, we were sitting on a substantial beer, which just so happened to drink as if it were a 6% IPA. It was ripe with delicious fruit notes that were chalked up to those delicious Calypso hops as well as other house favorites like Simcoe, Citra, and Crystal.
"We have an unofficial motto in house: 'test batches are for sissies.' We do the 'go big or go home' deal quite often, and while it might scare some folks, we have a great group of people with tons of experience and input, and we actually take a lot of pride in the fact that our team can actually crack a home run pretty consistently." -- Richie Saunders, brewmaster