The Beer Gatherer

Blogging about Israeli beer in general and Israeli craft beer in particular, following 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die and other beer musings.

Thanks Hansen & Zita!

This entry’s title should ring a bell to those who are creepy/ lifeless enough to stalk The Actuary, the Dead Swedish Girl or Yours Truly on Ratebeer. Hansen & Zita, a couple in real life and two different members on Ratebeer. Being Danish, Zita and Hansen get *real* time off work, not just a couple of days that are wasted on Jewish holidays when work shuts down anyway or on studying to final exams. Yes, they have time for overseas travel and last August they came to Israel for a holiday. What did they do here? You know, what every tourist does, or should do: traded beer with the natives.

Several weeks prior to their arrival, The Dead Swedish Girl called The Actuary and me to order: the three of us schlepped money and The Girl collected as many Israeli brews as possible. She gathered together some 40+ bottles of Israeli micros, some are hard to find, others more common. Some beer the three of us vouch for, others, some of us probably can’t stand but all are novelty to those who drink Mikkeller for breakfast. We met Hansen and Zita on their first night in Tel Aviv and took them to our favourite brewpub, The Dancing Camel, but before that picked the bounty from their hotel room: cans and bottles of anything from Danish craft beer to Danish supermarket brand pale lager; beer from Faroe Islands and beer from Singapore; a bunch of Belgian stuff, some ciders – the rationale behind the beer they delivered is beyond me but hey, I just put the money and enjoyed the harvest – it’s DSG who did all the work! I wasn’t involved in coordinating the trade and cannot be held responsible to the 6 bottles from my 1001 mission that found their way to Zita and Hansen’s luggage:

Tiger Beer from Singapore that was as sweet, sticky and artificial smelling and tasting as pale lager gets made me happy, because no one I know travels to Singapore and I would have never thought of asking people to fetch me cheapo lager, even import lager, so that’s cool.

The other 5 from the list are Belgian and with 118 Belgian beers on my list, every bit helps. Scotch Silly is a beautiful clear dark red Scotch Ale, that smells like wine and caramel-candy. It tastes sweet and condensed, almost like wort, with a sweet, lingering alcoholic finish. Brasserie De La Senne’s Stouterik is another pretty beer: black with a big tan head and a weird aroma that I liked: fuel, mud and ripe fruit. The beer smells and looks better than it tastes: bitter but weird, with fuel echoing in the finish. It isn’t bad or wrong, just weird. Zinnebier, also from De La Senne, is a Belgian style ale that smells sweet, with hints of clove and orange peel. It tastes bitter, hoppy and a little fruity, has a medium body and a surprising finish that reminded me of caraway crackers. Malheur 10 – its name indicates its alcoholic volume – is too carbonated, tastes orangey and sweet and smells sweet as well: I noticed fruit, passion fruit syrup and plastic. Its carbonation produced a huge frothy head which is always cool, but was too much for my tummy.

The last beer Hansen & Zita brought from the list, to which they were unaware of but which granted them eternal fame in this blog and on more than 120 ratings is Urthel Samaranth, heavy quadrupel that pours clear deep bronze and is as alcoholic and fruity and sweet as you’d expect from 11.5% abv beer.

Zinnebier, Urthel, Tiger and other beers from the trade. Our place, September 2012

None of the above was too amazing. Scotch Silly and Brassarie De la Senne’s stuff were good, Tiger Beer was aweful and the rest OK, but that’s the nature of the trip down the book: lots of okayness between peaks of grateness and masses of WTFness. but the trading was worth it. Not only did we get a suitcaseful of beers we would have otherwise overlooked or wouldn’t be able to get or would have to make an effort to get (did I mention Faroe Island?), but making new friends and talking shop with people who share your passion and obsession over a glass (or glasses – like committed ratebeerians they ordered tastings) of beer is a true pleasure.

H&Z enjoying Dancing Camel brews Ratebeer style (note the notebooks).

I am always looking for trades so if you happen to visit Israel, feel free to contact me and we’ll work something out.

Thank you Hansen and Zita for providing beers #125, #126, #127, #128, #129 and #130 I Must Try Before I Die. Hope you enjoyed your end of the trade as much as I did.


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