Coney Island Freaktoberfest
70 Blade Chainsaw
Coney Island Freaktoberfest is a seasonal offering by the Shmaltz Brewing Company as an expansion of their Coney Island Craft Lagers, brewed and bottled on commission by the Mendocino Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, New York. Accorting to the Shmaltz website, this festive seasonal lager is brewed with an impressive list ofingredients including Canadian Pale Ale and Wheat Malts, Munich and Vienna Malts, British Caramel Malts and hopped with Warrior, Cascade, Willamette, Hallertau and Northern Brewer Hops for a devilish alcohol content of 6.66% ABV.
The 1996 originator of the San Francisco, California based Kosher He’brew beer line, proprietor Jeremy Cowan moved production to New York during 2003 to expand the comical line owing homage to the Jewish religion. During 2008, Shmaltz brewing company rolled out the Coney Island Craft Lagers line after being given permission by Coney Island USA to use the Coney Island name along with images of sideshow performers.
A portion of the proceeds goes to Coney Island USA; a non-profit arts organization founded by Dick Zigun in an effort to preserve the the Brooklyn historic Coney Island American Sideshow and the History of Coney Island.
A collaboration of Shmaltz’s art director Matt Polacheck and Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Dave C. Wallin, the illustrations on the bottles are an impressive combination of talent and creativity while delivering an authentic 1880’s playful sideshow freakness. Upon seeing the artwork of this seasonal, I picked up four of these 22 ounce bottles for some freakish festivities and satanic pursuits.
Onto The Method
7.0/10 – The Classic
2.0 – Appearance – An immediate shock the the sight as deep blood-red liquid pours from the bottle into the glass goblet. Healthy carbonation creates a large fluffy head that is a combination of tan and cherry (don’t count on my photo for reference, I took too long on staging as the head dissipated). Light tan and cherry colors leave webby lacing on the sides of the glass appropriate for the freak show. While unnatural in nature – the red was a welcomed surprise that is both freakish and festive.
1.0 – Aroma – Subtle and thin punchy hop aromas dance with the vapor of a deliberate 6.66% alcohol air to balance the equally mild sweetness of the malt.
1.0 – Taste – A crisp lager undertone sets the tone for an extra bitter multiple hop profile, some fruity notes on the back end reminds me of cranberry while a downward sour bitterness layers the crunch of the malt and wheat.
1.0 – Palate – The edgy bitterness of the hops in collaboration with some wild microcarbonation rough up an otherwise smooth mouth feel.
2.0 – Overall – Coney Island Freaktoberfest is a fun gimmicky beer with an unusual red color the would make a perfect offering at a Halloween party. Well constructed with an impressive list of ingredients that comes together for a sour bitterness followed by an unnatural but festively forgivable red color.
6.0/10 Blades – The Hammer – the booze – This sideshow performer goes beyond freakness and into devil worship as the makers command the brewers to dial this alcohol content to precisely 6.66% abv. But while its intentions are hellish, satan never quite answers the call and the alcohol doesn’t fully live to its potential.
7.0/10 Blades – The Knife –digestibility –Getting past the edgy bitterness and sour leanings is the toughest aspect of this process, but once down, the system smooths its ride down to the nightmarish hole of the toilet.
6.0/10 Blades – The Spider – the lift –I’m immediately affected by the sight of the red – which alone created a shock to my senses. Otherwise, the lift is slow and steady, rising at the end of the first and hitting a plateau by the conclusion of the second.
5.0/10 Blades – The Motor –can you handle it? – While it’s easy enough to consume and enjoy the festiveness of this brew, it’s flavor profile makes it tough to continue the session beyond the attention of the novelty – switching to another finebrew after the end of the second is more than appropriate.
39/50 Blades – The Buzz – Coney Island Freaktoberfest is a fun, festive and freakishly wild beer with a sick blood-red color followed by an equally unruly foam. While surprised by its initial presence, it is wholly in tune with its overall image and purpose.
As it immediately claims on the bottle, this is not an Oktoberfest either in the traditional sense… or at all. It is a Freaktoberfest appropriate for the Halloween season and for the festivities of the night.
And while Coney Island Freaktoberfest is a crazy looking beer both in terms of graphics and as an actual liquid, its flavor profile, aroma and body just don’t live up to the standard of an exceptional brew. Though its not bad beer at all, it isn’t great and its main purpose is a gimmick and party accentuator. This is unfortunate because of its impressive beer ingredients including its five malt and five hop composition.
However in terms of fun, festivity and party pleasures, Coney Island Freaktoberfest is phenomenal. If you’re hosting a party, this would be the night’s central beer offering (if you can manage to inspire the guests to serve it in a glass). If you’re attending a Halloween party, this would be the beer to bring (and serve it in a glass bottle).
It’s presence is immediately inspiring and conversational, and most people would probably consider it a good enough beer.
And so in the spirit and festivities of the season – Coney Island Freaktoberfest Chainsaws the Night – tearing up some heads along the way!