Review: Hop Manna, Shmaltz Brewing

Hop Manna
Shmaltz. Brewing Co. — Saratoga Springs, NY

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Bitterness:  65 IBU
  • ABV:  6.5%
  • Malts:  Specialty 2-Row, Rye Ale, Wheat Malt, Vienna
  • Hops:  Warrior, Northern Brewer, Cascade, Amarillo, Crystal, Fuggle, Golding
  • Dry Hops: Cascade, Crystal, Amarillo
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description:  "In the book of Exodus, the ancient Hebrews survived 400 years of bondage before the ultimate supreme court dropped the 10 deadly Plagues on the land of the taskmasters and its head dictator, the Pharaoh. Even then, only begrudgingly, did he Let My People Go. The freedom ride across, nay through the sea left a band of wandering nomads broke and suffering, no doubt with a mighty thirst and a profound hunger. Enter the Manna: a glorious gift to nourish body and soul. Manna was said to combine the tastes of everything delicious to each person, depending on the desires of the one experiencing it. And as the Good Book says, Each shall gather according to one’s need and shall enjoy a double portion to get through thy chosen day of rest. Manna fed the entire tribe, but tradition suggests the righteous received manna ground in a heavenly mill, while the wicked had to grind it below for themselves. Perhaps we’ll let the brewers decide who’s been naughty or nice…"  — Shmaltz Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:   Did you read that?  Don't worry, I didn't either.  I received this beer from a friend who was gifted it through a Beer of the Month Club.  This is part of my Ode to IPA Day series

The tasting:  Light copper in color with a white head that dissipated slowly.  Aroma of biscuit and caramel malts with some grassy hops.  Flavors of grapefruit hops, grassy hops, and bready malt.  Hop Manna is light to medium bodied.  It's very bitter throughout and finishes with a long lingering and unpleasant hop bitterness.  I couldn't distinguish the hop flavors in the finish—it was just a big bitter mess.  I guess that shouldn't be too surprising as they used seven hop varieties.

Rating:  2 star.  Drinkable, but not sure I want to.  I didn't like this beer.  Yes, I expect bitterness in an IPA.  But this was just overly bitter and the flavors were very muddled.  I expect chewing on dried hops might provide a similar experience.  It didn't work for me.  If someone offered Hop Manna to me, I'd pass. 

Have you tried Hop Manna or any other Shmaltz brews?  What are your favorites?

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  1. I've not tried a huge amount of He'Brew, but the only good one I've had from them is the Bittersweet Lenny R.I.P.A. They hit that one out of the park.

  2. This is my first He'Brew beer. I've also got their pomegranate ale in my fridge. Hope it's better. I'll keep an eye out for the Lenny R.I.PA. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Calling an IPA too bitter makes no sense


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