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.

Archive for the category “Heller Bock”

Brotherly Love

Procrastination time. Instead of studying for next week’s exam, practicing before today’s bass lesson doing laundry or simply drinking beer, I’m blogging. I get to drink many of the beers that are featured in this blog thanks to my Excellent Little Brother. 3 or 4 years ago he did the right thing and got the hell out of Israel. He moved to New York, got a job that gets him to places – especially in my beloved fly-over states – and also travels a lot outside the city. He makes the most out of his time there. Home and away, he goes to liquor stores, finds stuff from my list and sometimes digs treasures on his own, and when he comes to visit, he packs the goods and delivers.

Over the years he learned to enjoy beer. Though not his main hobby or obsession, he’s been to brewpubs in town and away, and sampled anything from imperial stout to mead to sour ales – go him!

He brought Canadian beer when he went to tap maple one weekend in Ontario, and usually and naturally, he usually brings American beer. But living in NY, he’s got an access to almost everything that’s exported, so occasionally, there’s some non-American stuff around, like Hövels Original, Altbier from Dortmund, that was sadly after its best before date when it finally reached me. Cannot blame him, though! Despite the age, it wasn’t too bad. Clear brown with white head. Malty aroma with some instant coffee with milk and a little wood. Tastes slightly bitter, malty, and a little burnt caramel. Medium body, fairly carbonated and a little burnt aftertaste.

Excellent Little Brother also brought Hofbräu München Maibock. Brewed by the famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich, bought in Manhattan and drank in Tel Aviv, this Heller Bock pours clear and reddish with cream colour foam. Very malty, seedy aroma, bitter, slightly sweet and warm malty taste, then more bitterness. Medium-bodied, long, bitter, grainy finish. I love big malty beers, and this certainly was one.

Funny enough, he found me the bottle of French Biere de Garde CH’TI Ambrée when I was in Paris last September. We were emailing back and forth, me from my hotel room, he from Wholefoods. Clear dark amber with beige head. Sweet, honey aroma. Sweet honey mead-like taste. Medium body, sweet finish. Probably spoiled, but I kinda liked it anyway.

Our drinking bodies always say that I tend to like the beer my brother brings me a little more than they deserve. I can’t deny that.

Hövels Original, Hofbräu München Maibock and CH’TI Ambrée are beers #434, #435 and #436 I Must Try Before I Die.

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Das Boot

Been a while since I blogged about Italian beers. I like Italian beers and so does The Book. Both innovative in taste and design and with strong link to tradition (again – the design), there are no less than 47 beers from the Land of Pizza and Gucci in the first edition of the book. Some of them are naturally hard to get. With the help of this blog’s benefactors – friends, fellow beergeeks and my Excellent Little Brother who lives in New York, where you can find stuff from all over the place (except for Fat Tire, that is).

Teva Boy was extremely helpful with Italian beers – he always is. He had a project near Milan and managed to grab some  bottles, like Birrificio Italiano Bibock, a 6.2% Hellr Bock. It pours a little hazy amber with a white head. Aroma of citrus and some honeysuckle as well as some minerals, mildly bitter taste, with diluted honey sweetness. Medium body, mildly carbonated and mild floral aftertaste. Feels a little old but that’s my fault for taking my sweet time meeting with Teva Boy.

Same goes with Farrotta, by Almond 22, that’s made of spelt grain. Also courtesy of Teva Boy. Hazy yellow-gold with a white head. Dry and dusty aroma, a little sugar and cookie as well. Tastes sweet, some candy, a little sourish and sugary. Full body, sweetish, bun-like finish.

Stas brought Verdi Imperial Stout by Ducato from one of his many beer holidays. We drank it in Haifa last winter – it’s been that long ago! Very dark brown with tan head. A little alcoholic and spur in the nose, some tomatoes, chocolate syrup and faint smokiness. Above the bitter taste – chili pepper hotness, the roast and again, faint smoke. Fulfilling, carbonated, very long chili-chipotle finish. Quite amazing, even more amazing than it reads!

I could go on, as there are other Italian beers waiting to be listed here, but it’s time to get prepared to bass lesson.

Birrificio Italiano Bibock, Almond 22 Farrotta, Ducato and Verdi Imperial Stout, #420, #421 and #422 I must Try Before I Die

Seven in Heaven

photo by Dead Swedish Girl

Nine beergeeks gathered last night in a Scrapbooking heaven in a pampered suburb not far from the big city. Nine beergeeks, 18 bottles of beer (well, 17 bottles, 16 of them of beer, one Swedish cider, and a can), 7 of which appear in the book! Without further ado, here they are:

First bottle from the Book was Stolichno Bok that one of the attendees brought from his ski holiday in Bulgaria. It was clear and reddish and had velvety wine aroma. It tastes sweet, a little like cherry and has a heavy body with light carbonation and long finish.

Dreher Bak was our contribution to the mission. We got bottles from our Hungarian friend Izabella, whom we first met 5 years ago via Couchsurfing. She stayed with us a couple of times and came again last month, with two bottles of Dreher Bak, per our request. This is a dark brown beer that has a sweet malty aroma, with hints of cooked fruit. It tastes bitter and dry and roasty and has a smooth texture, full body and long finish. Not bad at all! We have another bottle – good for us.

I think we tasted something from Urthel brewery on our trip to Belgium, but I don’t think it was Hop-It. Born in Belgium, Urthel is now brewed in Koningshoeven in The Netherlands. It’s a Belgian (or Dutch?) IPA, a little hazy in colour, with rich honey aroma that’s probably shouldn’t be there and a weird taste that begins sweet, then becomes bitter and feels soapy all along. Its finish is like a bitter apple and the carbonation is lively. I think that the bottle is either old or off. Dunno.

American or Belgian? Ommegang Abbey Ale poured hazy dark amber with a unique big yellowish foam head. It’s as heavy, fruity and honey-ish as one would expect and tastes really sweet and slightly bitter. It was a little metallic, too. The body is full, the finish is long, carbonation is medium.

Last night wasn’t our first encounter with Stone, not even in the 1001 Beers Challenge. Stone Ruination IPA is great, clear and blond and smells of peachs and grapefruit. It’s bitter, of course, straight to the point, but milder than I thought it would be. It was crisp, light-bodied and well carbonated.

Not sure whether or not I ordered Rogue Dead Guy Ale, as I’ve been eyeing this beer for quite a while. If we get it now I’ll be a little disappointed, for “wasting” my mail order on beer I have already sampled… It was alright, but not that amazing: a little apple and sweet aroma, a slightly bitter taste, apricot both in the nose and the mouth and not really carbonated.

Anchor Porter, however, was more to my liking. It was dark and opaque and smelled of chocolate and charob and tasted smooth and sweeet like chocolate milk. Medium bodied, slight carbonation and medium finish.

There were other beers there, and at least one beer that’s worth a post of its own. Soon. Now I gotta check out and make some big decisions about Purim celebrations: should we stay in or should we go to the grand opening of Dancing Camel Brew Pub new location? Went to bed after 2 a.m after last night’s tasting and barely made it through work today. I think we’ll end up staying in, drinking coke and coffee.

15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 beers I must try before I die.

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