Jeremy Cowan is the brains behind the shtick and flavor of HE’BREW Beer: The Chosen Beer, as well as Coney Island Craft Lager; the beer for lager freaks and beer geeks (ranked second and third Chosen People, respectively). In addition to brewing and drinking beer, Cowan is a former water polo and rugby hack (the gateway sport to cycling, or at least bike polo), notable alumni of Livnot U'Lehibanot, Stanford grad, and all around good guy; donating 10 percent of He’Brew’s profits to charity, including environmental causes and San Francisco synagogues. Thus, when you drink He’Brew beer, 10 percent of your buzz is for a good cause.
Next on tap for HE'BREW: Jewbelation 12. For years, Jewbelation has been the "Most Extreme Chanukah Beer" ever created. Last year, it was Jewbelation 11. This year, He’Brew has taken it up a notch. Jewbelation 12 has 12 malts, 12 hops and 12 percent alcohol. If you drink 12 bottles on each night of Chanukah you’ll be in a 12 step program in 12 shakes of a lamb's tail.
While you’re waiting for Jewbelation 12, check out Freaktoberfest, the latest Coney Island Lager production. The delicious brew is freakish in that it is blood red in color.
Oy Velo: Jeremy, thanks again for putting your beer on the Oy Velo jersey and for speaking with us today.
Jeremy Cowan: No problem, the jerseys look great.
OV: Thanks! So essentially, you graduated Stanford, then became a temp/bar tender until HE'BREW beer took-off. Was your mother okay?
JC: Yes, and in fact, hugely supportive. She actually helped me deliver my first batch throughout bars in San Francisco.
OV: Good for her; and you. How much beer did you make at the time?
JC: 100 cases at a time. By comparison, we now make 1400 cases at a time.
OV: I’ve had HE'BREW in the BIG bottles and now the 12 ounce bottles, will He’Brew Beer ever be available in cans?
JC: Canning technology has come a long way and I think it’s possible to can beer without sacrificing quality. . . but for now, we have no plans to use cans.
OV: No problem, just a question a friend with a boat asked me to pass along.
JC: Maybe some day. We’re really happy with the bottles for now though.
OV: How much beer do you drink?
JC: Way more than I should. The problem is that there are so many He’Brew Beer and Coney Island Lager events, and the beer is so good. . . lets just say I drink more than suggested for the average stomach/liver.
OV: Good for you. Are you ready for the Six Questions With Oy Velo?
JC: Hit me.
1. Please recite the prayer over the beer.
JC: Let’s see. Beer is essentially bread, so I’m going to say Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.
OV: That’s better than my answer which was, Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam bore peri beer.
2. Rank these beers: Milwaukee’s Best, Pabst Blue Ribbon; Natural Lite and Schlitz.
OV: Right, it’s a bit like ranking how you want to die.
JC: I think Pabst is possibly above the rest for cheaper hipster value, though Milwaukee’s Best actually wins the Great American Beer Festoval every year in it's category, so I guess I’ll place them second. Then, I guess Schlitz and Natural Lite equally tie for last.
OV: Oy Velo cannot argue with your palate. Correct.
3. Name a beer brewed in Israel.
JC: Dancing Camel. I’ve never had it, but I’ve corresponded with the owner and heard good things about it and I’ll definitely have some on my next trip to Israel.
OV: Correct, Dancing Camel brews 8 styles of beer.
4. How often did the slaves of Egypt drink beer while building the pyramids?
JC: The Jewish slaves did not drink beer, that was the beverage of the Egyptians. The people of Judea drank wine.
OV: According to an article regarding ancient Egyptian alcohol, "workmen at the pyramids of the Giza Plateau were given beer thrice daily." The article does not specify whether the "workmen" were Jewish slaves. Wikipedia indicates that the Giza Plateau was built by skilled laborers earning a salary rather than slaves, so it's possible that you are correct. However, you’re dangerously close to acing my quiz and I like my answer better because it includes the word "thrice." As a result, you do not get credit.
JC: Sounds ... appropriate ... your game after all!
5. Which beer has not sponsored a cycling event or team: Sierra Nevada, Coors, Stella Artois or Terrapin?
JC: Stella has sponsored everything, so it can’t be them. I’ve seen the Sierra Nevada jerseys so it’s not them. Terrapin is a great beer and very cutting edge, so it has to be into cycling. Coors? It seems like they would have sponsored cycling too, but maybe they were too busy tapping the Rockies.
OV: That was accidentally a trick question. I forgot to throw a decoy beer on that list before this interview. All of those beers have sponsored cycling at one time or another and you get full credit.
6. What is beer’s main ingredient?
JC: Hops. Well, water is as far as total volume, but hops is the main substantive ingredient.
OV: You just rained on my parade. I’ve been very excited ever since Google informed me that water is the main ingredient of beer. Thanks for the education. I guess I'll stop filling the water bottles on my bike with The Rejewvenator.
Mazel Tov! 5 out of 6 Stars of David. I’ll drink to that, L’Chiam.