Matteo’s Public in Nevada City, CA!

Hello Beer and Book Geeks! 

Sending well wishes and hopes that your 2012 is starting out as the best one yet!

If you are in the Northern California area, please join us in Nevada City for some great wit and tasty beer on January 18th. Jeremy will be doing a book reading and beer tasting at Matteo’s Pub.

You won’t want to miss this gathering if you… like beer… lit a menorah last month… or just like to laugh. I’m guessing that means all of you.
Wednesday, January 18th @ 6pm
Hosted by: Matteo’s, Harmony Books, Tom McCormick & Kim Milligan

Gift books soaked in beer: A guide to what to get your favorite craft beer lover for the holidays

By Josh Noel, Tribune Newspapers

December 21, 2011

Should you be unclear what to get your favorite craft beer lover for the holidays, I have a suggestion, and no, it’s not beer: a book about beer. An impressive number of books about the world’s most wonderful beverage have come out in recent months and would make ideal holiday gifts. Here are a few possibilities.

“Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution,” by Joshua M. Bernstein The best-looking and most fun to read on this list, it’s a how-to guide for the beginning hipster beer nerd. Extra cool points for the book jacket, which unfolds into a beer map of sorts that shows the relationship among various styles and offers suggestions for the best of each. $24.95

“Chicago by the Pint: A Craft Beer History of the Windy City,” by Denese Neu If interested in Chicago’s beer history long before Daisy Cutter, this is the book for you. Each chapter begins with a brief synopsis of a present-day brewery, followed by a passage about our city’s brewing history — all the way down to the city’s first commercial brewery, Lill and Diversey Brewery, which opened “about 1841.” $19.99

“Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah: How it Took 13 Years, Extreme Jewish Brewing and Circus Sideshow Freaks to Make Shmaltz Brewing Company an International Success,” by Jeremy Cowan with James Sullivan Cowan, founder and owner of He’Brew and Coney Island beers, writes an interesting and breezy autobiographical account of breaking into the beer world. Heavy on both beer and Judaism, it makes for — needless to say — a killer Hanukkah present, especially when paired with a six-pack of He’Brew. $25

Brooks on Beer: Gifts for Beer Lovers

For the San Jose Mercury News
By Jay R. Brooks

With the holidays fast approaching, there probably is at least one beer lover on your gift list. It may be tempting to pick up a ready-made beer gift pack — a “Beers of the World” approach — but it’s been my experience that the more passionate the beer lover, the  harder it is to actually buy beer for him or her. No matter what you choose, they’ve probably had it before.  (Samuel Adams’ 2011 holiday beer sampler may be an exception. The gift set includes their tasty Chocolate Bock, brewed with Ecuadorean cocoa nibs from San Francisco chocolatier TCHO.)

Still, that’s the nature of beer geekdom: We’re always looking for something new to try. So here are a few nondrinkable gift suggestions for the beer lover in your life.

Beer books
We’re in a golden age of beer books, with dozens of new titles published every year. But the most eagerly anticipated beer book of the year is the “Oxford Companion to Beer” (Oxford University Press, $60, 960 pages). It was edited by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garret Oliver, and written by more than 165 experts in a variety of beer-related fields. It’s a hefty tome that’s easy to get lost in, but it’s also perfect for browsing. Open it to any page, and you’ll find something interesting to read. (I may be slightly biased, because I contributed about two dozen of the more than 1,000 entries.)

For the casual beer fan, try “Brewed Awakening” (Sterling Epicure, $24.95, 304 pages) by New York writer Joshua M. Bernstein. His book is jam-packed with fun facts, suggested brews and a thorough overview of today’s beer scene. It’s such fun to read you won’t realize you’re learning about history too.

Aspiring brewers will enjoy “The Brewers Apprentice” (Quarry Books, $24.99, 192 pages) by Greg Koch and Matt Allyn. It’s really a series of interviews with some of the world’s leading brewers on their craft. Over the course of the book, you, too, learn to brew beer. Interviewees include Bay Area brewer Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River, Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman and Eel River’s Ted Vivatson.

If biographies are your thing, you can’t go wrong with “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.” (Ten Speed Press, $25, 208 pages), which details not only the story of San Diego’s Stone Brewing by its founders, Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, but also includes back stories
and recipes for home brews and even the food served at their World Bistro.

For a more irreverent take, try “Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah” (Malt Shop Publishing, $16.99, 368 pages) by San Francisco native Jeremy Cowan, who tells the tale of Shmaltz Brewing, makers of He’Brew, the Chosen Beer. The subtitle alone will give you some idea of the wild ride you’re in for: “How It Took 13 Years, Extreme Jewish Brewing, and Circus Sideshow Freaks to Make Shmaltz Brewing an International Success.”

History buffs will dive into “America Walks Into a Bar” (Oxford University Press, $24.95, 336 pages) by Christine Sismondo. It’s a journey through the nation’s earliest taverns, the speak-easy era and today’s modern bar scene.

But my favorite book of the year is Joe Sixpack’s “What the Hell Am I Drinking?” (CreateSpace, $11.95, 198 pages). Joe Sixpack is the nom de plume of Philadelphia beer writer Don Russell, and his little book tells the stories and history of 50 different types of beer, along with a checklist of examples of each style. No matter how much you think you know about beer, you’ll learn something new and surprising from Russell’s latest. (Check it out at

Beer gadgets

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a few stocking stuffers and these bottle openers are for a great cause. Called “Beers Not Bombs,” they’re made from “Peace Bronze,” a bronze alloy made from disarmed nuclear missile silos. There are four models, each $14.95, and a portion of the proceeds goes to Doctors Without Borders and thegrass-roots International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Check out the full line at

The other must-have is the new Lagunitas Butterfly Beer Opener ($15). Head over to and watch the video of how to master it, and you’ll quickly see why you need one of these openers, too, whether for yourself or as a gift — or both.
Malty Christmas and a Hoppy New Year!

Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah in Esquire Magazine!

The New Beer Bibles a Man Should Read

by Evan S. Benn
November 9, 2011

Funny thing about being a beer writer: I receive more books about beer than actual beer. The majority of them — the ones that open with “the differences between ales and lagers” — are a bore. Lucky for me, then, that three recent releases are anything but. If you’re looking to give something to yourself or the beer-lover in your life this holiday season, you might want to consider picking one of these up. After all, a book about beer is the next-best thing to beer. Trust me, I know.

The major release of the year is the highly-anticipated The Oxford Companion to Beer (Oxford University Press, $65). Big both in size (a whopping 960 pages, or four pounds) and in concept, the OCB is the result of years of research by editor Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, and his team of 166 contributors from every corner of the ale world. Even Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio drops in with a food-focused foreword. The encyclopedic chapters include everything from history (there’s a seven-page entry on Germany) to personalities and styles. In other words, there’s a little bit for everyone, and it’s easy to drop in anywhere you want. How else would I have found out that in Japan, a man will often declare “Toriaezu biiru!” (“I’ll start with a beer!”) when he enters a bar? Yes, the price tag is steep (you can find it cheaper online), but the insight is worth it. And if you pick up a box set in person at Brooklyn Brewery, you even get — yes — a free beer.

Greg Koch isn’t shy about promoting craft beer, especially those dispensed by his own Stone Brewing Co. in San Diego. I mean, the man travels with a megaphone. Now he has a new way to evangelize: The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance (Ten Speed Press, $25). Koch teamed up with Stone co-founder Steve Wagner and spokesman Randy Clemens (who’s also author of The Sriracha Cookbook, where we found one of our favorite Michelada recipes) to create a tome that is equal parts brewery history, surprising food recipes incorporating Stone’s bottles (stir-fried Brussels sprouts?), and lessons in homebrewing. You’d want to be a Stone enthusiast already (you can pick up their pale ale many places), but then it’s just about perfect.

And anyone who’s ever held a bottle of He’Brew Beer or Coney Island Craft Lager knows something about enthusiasm. Jeremy Cowan runs his Shmaltz Brewing Co. with a fair amount of shtick, but, circus-sideshow labeling aside, it’s clear that Shmaltz owes at least part of its success to Cowan’s ability to not take himself too seriously, which is accounted for in Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah (Malt Shop Publishing, $16.99), a look at the brewery’s 13-year history. Chapter titles like “Pomegranates and Cocksuckers” are anything but conventional, but then again, neither are some of the best beers. Bar Mitzvah is another reminder of how weird — and wonderful — the industry can be. At the very least, it’s more interesting than most books about a business startup.

Evan S. Benn is the beer columnist for the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His Hip Hops column, blog, and beer app can be found at, and you can buy his new book here. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Greetings Readers, beloved Beer Geeks, Shmaltzers–

In true craft beer fashion, as you may know, we decided to self-published Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah through our new gig, Malt Shop Publishing.

My good friend, and widely read and respected journalist Jim (and many others) helped me write it. Matt our Art Director (with my micro-managing eye) designed the hardback and paperback.

And then, just like when I first started Shmaltz Brewing, we self-distributing the goods one customer and one account at a time while learning a bit more about the publishing world and book sales.

We’ve sold over 1500 books this year – more cases by far than I sold in my first year of Shmaltz.

Now we’ve signed up with a highly respected small press distributor, Independent Publishers Group alongside Small Press United, to take CBBM to the national stage – to book stores far and wide.

To celebrate the launch, for one last self-distributed hoorah, we brought books to the Great American Beer Festival at their Beer Enthusiasts Bookstore. 49,000 festival goers, over 400 breweries and over 2000 beers to sample, including six from Shmaltz Brewing plus some extra special tastes of our barrel-aged series.

You can still find CBBM on our webstore, Amazon, and through friends at homebrew shops, brewery tasting rooms, Judaica shops and more – but starting this month, look for Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah at your favorite bookstore near you. Neighborhood indies and national chains – all can carry the book – so ask for it!

Thanks all and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on the Wandering He’brew Book Tour of America this year and beyond. L’Chaim!

The Book

A Small Business Memoir
by Jeremy Cowan

Proprietor, Shmaltz Brewing Company
with James Sullivan

How it took 13 years, Extreme Jewish Brewing, and Circus Sideshow Freaks to make Shmaltz Brewing Company an International Success

Shmaltz Brewing Company was awarded the gold medal for “Best American Craft Beer” and the overall “Best in Show” by Beverage World Magazine, 2010. Established by Jeremy Cowan in San Francisco in 1996 with the first batch of 100 cases of He’brew Beer® bottled, labeled, and delivered by hand, Shmaltz has sold over eight million bottles of beer to date. Along with their acclaimed line of He’brew Beers®, Shmaltz introduced its sideshow-inspired Coney Island Craft Lagers® in 2007. Shmaltz Brewing beers have appeared in such distinguished media outlets as The New York Times, CNN, Beer Advocate Magazine, NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” and The Onion, and are now distributed in over 30 states though more than 3000 retailers and growing. L’Chaim!