Schmaltz Brewing Company
San Francisco, CA/New York, NY
Coney Island Freaktoberfest
Pouring this beer is a bit of a shock and takes the “red” designation to a new level – it is really red. Like cherry cough medicine with a syrupy, lambic-like density and some blood-orange tones when held to the light. There is virtually no head to speak of, though a wispy white lace eddies across the surface.
The nose is mostly sweet malt – very Viennese, and appropriately Oktoberfest-ish (terrible adjective, sorry) – but it is not without some syrupy tones. There are warm alcohol aromas – molasses, stone fruit – with just a touch of faintly lemony Noble hops. Really, this smells very little like a lager though.
The mouthfeel is excellent. There is a fullness and an unexpected effervescence that dances back across the palate as this brew opens up into what is actually quite interesting. An initial shot of warm grain hits the tongue but changes almost instantly into a bitter, crispy tang that I initially thought would turn cloying. It doesn’t. Faint wafts of alcohol arrive, introducing themselves with a metallic wave that recedes in a mild wash of under-ripe cherries.
This would probably fare better if served a bit warmer than I had it and the color is a bit off-putting, but this is an impressively sessionable 6.6% brew. A loveable freak.