I’m behind. I’m so, so behind that the notes for one of the beers in this post was taken in St. Patrick’s Day, shortly after the unforgettable Samuel Adams Tasting. As that tasting ended, we chased away some of the guests and headed north, to check out the Goose Pub in Kibbutz Ein Shemer. Located in a unique converted wooden barn, it seemed as if the place catered to all the youngsters who live within 30 kilometers from Ein Shemer. The pub that night was unpleasantly crowded and smokey, although us four had a good time, in our gallery table, munching on friend food and not drinking Guinness. See, I’m too old for this shit – high volume pop music, commercial traditions… I don’t do Valentine, I don’t do St. Paddy’s. So I opted for the secular German option, that like Guinness is also marketed by Carlsberg/ Coca Cola Israel – Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier (and so did the Secret Agent and The Dead Swedish Girl but not the still nickname-less Shachar). It is an awesome beer and if there’s one good thing about Coca Cola’s domination in the local market is the beer’s availability. You can find it all over, and as long as the pipes are clean and the bartenders don’t manage to ruin the brew pouring it wrong or something, you are in for a treat: cloudy-orange colour, ripe banana and clove aroma, taste that alternates bitter, sweet and sour, light body and sheer joy – in the mediocre pub near you (and also in the Goose Pub, which must be pretty cool on weekdays and off-season).
Anyway, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan makes lots of different kinds of beer. The Hefe Weizen is the one available here, but occasionally, others make a guest appearance in the taps, such as the Weihenstephaner Dunkel and the Weihenstephaner Vitus that are now being poured at the makeshift Beer Garden in Ta’am Ha’Ir, Tel Aviv’s annual food festival. Established in the late 1990’s, the fest was an opportunity to sample top restaurants dishes for cheap. Today, with the abundance of good restaurants who offer affordable business menus and the coupons that make chef resturants a little more accessible, Ta’am Ha’Ir is just a big fest, with lots of commercial compounds for junk food, the national lottery and even cigarettes, a few restaurants who offer the famous sample dishes and other food stalls, lots of plastic and wet waste and thousands of suburbanites of all ages who show the beautiful face of Israel: pushing, noise, disrespect of personal space and the inability to stand in line. I was there last year, as a part of last year’s mission. Yesterday I was there too, as a part of the current mission, as Vitus is also in the book, 7.7% heavenly ABV. Fresh banana aroma, fruit and a little clove are revealed once you dip your nose in the rocky head. Tastes sweet and somewhat sour but balanced and not alcoholic at all.
The Dunkel, dark wheat beer, is sweet as well, really refreshing and clove and banana aroma, and also mud that I’m not sure whether it belonged to the beer or to the surrounding. I did manage to neutralize the grass and not associate it with hops. At least that. Anyway, although having a body, it’s a refreshing beer that I’d be glad to drink occasionally, if I could. I can’t drink neither the Dunkel nor the Vitus occasionally, so when I have the opportunity, I’d even drag myself to crowded events.
Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier and Weihenstephaner Vitus are beers #50 and #51 I must try before I die. 950 more to go, peanuts!