Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

He’brew, the chosen beer, how it all began

By William Brand
Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 6:08 pm in Uncategorized.

A beer for Chanukah: He’brew Jewbilation 12

Note: This is an updated version of an article I wrote for Northwest Brewing News in 2005.

By William Brand
SAN FRANCISCO –  “He’Brew – The Chosen Beer.’’ It all began as a joke between  two  high school kids in suburban San Francisco, a long time ago.

“We were the only Jewish kids in our immediate group of friends,’’ Jeremy Cowan explains. It was back in the 1980s. Sam Adams had been on the market a little while. They thought, `You know what  – Jews need their own beer.’

They played with the idea and came up with slogans like `Don’t Pass Over Sober.’

Those 17-year-olds  never would have guessed that two decades later that very beer would be sold in 20 states and the people – Jews and most everybody else – would laugh at the joke and enjoy the beer.

Cowan recalls that He’brew remained an inside joke among friends for years, but the craft beer movement in the San Francisco Bay Area kept growing and Cowan got serious.

It’s not widely publicized, but Jews have an incredible drinking and brewing tradition, he said. “I came up with He’brew.  I thought it would be a fun idea, a unique idea. I had bartended; I had worked at a brewpub in New Orleans,’’ he said. But he was not a brewer.

So he went to a  `brew  on premises’ shop in Mountain View,  CA to work out a formula. “I wanted to make a really good beer that I could be proud of,’’ Cowan said. “It was just a tiny place,’’ Cowan said. “But the brewer  there  was really good.’’ READ THE REST OF THIS POST…

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