Beer in the Suitcase
I’ve been trying not to feel guilty about the infrequent updates, about falling behind and about pretty much neglecting one of the main reasons I started this blog: writing about Israeli craft beer. It’s not like I report to anyone but myself or get paid to run this project and some important stuff’s been going on lately, like failing statistics, a new semester, busy busy schedule at work and some social life. I’m not the only one. It’s summertime and people are busy. Unlike yours truly, who’s been developing arthritis, overusing the calculator, The Beer Gatherer’s buddies have been breathing recycled airplane air, hunting for beer in more attractive locations than the filthy streets of Jaffa in the middle of the heat wave.
A couple of weeks ago we met at Midi-Bear’s place. Him, The Peaceful CEO and The Long Distance Runner returned from the American Homebrewers Association conference in Seattle; Troubles is a regular on TLV-Rome route; The Beer Greek, poor him, was sent to a beer marketing conference in Copenhagen not too long ago and The Guy With The Oh-So-Fluid Nickname has just returned to Israel. There were plenty of good bottles on the table, as well as some horrendous ones, and not-quite-by-accident, a bunch of them are listed in the book.
The Secret Agent and I shared with the bunch a bottle of Black Hawk Stout brewed by Mendocino Brewing Company from Hopland California. Now a beergeek can’t just mention that a brewery is from a place called Hopland and move on, so I wikied the place, population 800, and learned that Mendocino’s brewpub in Hopland was the first of its kind in California. And yes, “The town gets its name from the fact that from the 1870s to the mid-1950s, much of the region’s economy was based on the growing and drying of bitter hops” – cool! Black Hawk is categorized as dry stout and dryness is apparent in its long, coffee-like finish. It pours reddish brown with an off white head and smells like sweet-chocolate and soy. Some soy is also apparent in the mouth, which is dominated by bitterness and roast that I’m always happy to meet. It was a decent beer.
The Beer Greek keeps bringing to the tastings stuff from the list I had emailed him while he was in Denmark. He shared a bottle of Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast that he bought in Barleywine, a craft beer shop in Carlsberg Land (here‘s The Beer Greek’s Hebrew blog about the place. Also, google for pics – looks so bright and inviting with those white, IKEA(-like?) shelves). Mikkeller beers are almost a staple in our tastings, but it seems that most of the crowd hunts for the rare and special edition stuff, so it was extra nice of The Beer Greek to bring a “generic” Mikkeller. This one was drier, darker and more condenced than the Black Hawk Stout, roasty all over and fun. A great beer.
Bear Republic is a brewery I’ve been getting to know and like in the past couple of months. We drank Racer 5 and Pete Brown Tribute Ale not too long ago. In the latest tasting Midi Bear opened a bottle of Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, that was hoppy with grapefruit and evergreen aroma, dry and bitter taste and a little alcoholic finish that did ruin the beer. I loved this one.
When The Guy With The Oh-So-Fluid Nickname (oh my, by the time I finish the 1001 mission, he’ll have 2000 different nicks probably! Matching him with a permanent nick is one of this quarter’s missions) returned, he asked me if Innis and Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer is in my book. Well, the book lists the standard Innis and Gunn Oak Aged Beer, but special editions count too and they are even better, especially special edition that have rum in their title and had rum in the barrels. I love rum. This is my other alco-love. The Secret Agent and I actually drifted to beer because rum is even less available in Israel than beer, let alone decent rum-based cocktails. Now this beer’s a gem: clear dark brown with beige head and fun, fun, fun aroma: butter, vanilla, cask, wood, sugar and cherry are what my receptors caught. The beer’s sweet and alcoholic and matches the aroma and light for its 7.4% abv.
Tomorrow we’re hosting another tasting, launching our new air-conditioner. Meanwhile, these were beers #87, #88, #89, #90 I Must Try Before I Die. I predict #100 will be drank in the next 2 weeks.