On Monday after work Teva Boy and I met up at Jem’s brewpub, to try their new Golden Ale. He brought along his bottle of Lagunitas Maximus, that’s been waiting for me since the summer, but we met at Jem’s to check out their first release in two years, Jem’s Golden Ale.
Teva Boy and I make our respective beer money in the same industry and in the same dull industrial area – Kiryat Matalon, Petach Tikva – that other than greasy spoons run by ex-cons, salad bars and mediocre chain restaurants has pretty much nothing to offer to the regional culinary scene. Jem’s Beer Factory entered this wasteland about three years ago. Armed with kosher certificates, a good story about a once White House employee leaving everything behind and making his Zionist dream come true in the shape of a brewery and the best location ever: An industrial/ business area with no proper option for business luncheons or casual dinner that’s surrounded by affluent Light-Orthodox neighbourhoods, with money to spend but nowhere fun to spend it at. 6 kinds of beer, plenty of greasy grub and a weekly, always sold-out music shows fill the suburban void quite well.
The brewery has expended and 2 years ago started bottling and selling its creation outside the pub as well. I heard that a new branch is about to open in Ra’anana, another town with a dominant affluent kosher keeper population. Also, a year or two ago The Secret Agent and I noticed an improvement – apparently some of the recipes went under modifications that did them good. The selection, however, is standard: dark lager, wheat, pils, amber ale, stout and 8.8, a Belgian strong ale that according to a bartender who works there is their most popular brew. Not surprising, as Israelis love their value for money and the higher the abv. the faster it takes to get drunk. The beers are fine but like so many other local brews suffer from inconsistency. Teva Boy says that they can’t keep up with the demand and hence they take it easy with conditioning. Anyway, those who are new to the brewery can order samples which is always cool for beergeeks and indecisive people such as myself alike.
The Golden Ale which we tasted is Jem’s attempt in an American-style session beer, is currently available from tap only and it smells grassy and dry with the slightest tropical hints. I tasted grain, cookie dough and a little bitterness, but the citra hops used in its production isn’t really apparent. Can’t say we were disappointed, as we didn’t have high expectations anyway.
Butthen Teva Boy took a bottle of Lagunitas Maximus out of his bag. He chilled it at work and we shared it with the bartender, who enjoyed the new taste and didn’t mind that the beer was somewhat past its prime. I didn’t mind that either, because it caught that very sugary aroma, of cherry, ripe peach and cake, and a malty bitter taste with candy-like sweetness. With 8.2% abv. no wonder I was a little tipsy upon arriving to the gym for some after work workout.
Lagunitas Maximus is beer #154 I Must Try Before I Die and Jem’s Beer Factory is THE place to visit if you happen to be in Petach Tikva or if you are a die-hard beergeek.