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 tag “beer blog”

My Year of Beer

or rather

It all started last March, when The Secret Agent, aka my partner, lover, roommate, BFF and husband of 9+ years and I drove to Mate’ Yehuda Craft Beer Fest. We went to say hello to our friend, brewer/ liquor maker/ cheesemaker Aram from Abeer Ha’Ella brewery and he introduced us to the guy at the nearby stall. It was Shachar Hertz, owner of Beer and Beyond, who was selling a small book he had recently published: Beer Brands in Israel 2011 (Hebrew alert!).

I knew of the book before – a friend or two liked its Facebook page, but it was the first time I saw it. Schachar was nice, I was probably already in a good beer mood so I schlepped some of my beer money and bought us a copy.

Later that day at home, The Secret Agent and I looked through the book. Some 250 beers that are commercially sold in Israel (at the time of editing, as we learned later) are catalogued there, about 35% of which we had already drank before. I thought it would be cool to drink them all by the end of 2011. I also thought it would be cool to blog about it and (Hebrew alert!) was born.

Thus began our Year of Beer (or 9 month, which led to the birth of this very blog, if you wish), a year in which we took the one-way-ticket to Beergeekdom. We drank from tap and at home, in brewpubs and mall bars; drove 100 miles to a small southern town just to drink draught Goldstar; crossed grim checkpoints to taste freshly-brewed Taybeh; invited friends over for cross-tasting of some 9 Baltikas and learned that it’s ok to pour beer that sucks;  walked into Russian mini marts with lists in our pockets; and learned that true happiness is a dusty, out of date bottle of mediocre lager that is no longer imported to the Unholy Land on the back of a bottom shelf in walk-in fridge at a gas stop somewhere in the north.

And then, without us noticing, it just wasn’t enough. We joined a Beer of the Month Club and then another beer club. I signed up to Ratebeer “just for the ticks” and then “maybe for place rating” and then I found myself drinking with a notebook yet without much time to transfer the tasting notes to the site. We organized tastings, were invited to tastings (a memorable one being a blind tasting of all Bavarian-style wheat beers available in Israel and then some – what was it? 19 beers in 2 hours?) and in October took a 2-week trip to Southern Germany and Belgium where we shared 100 beers in cool cafe’s and classic Brauhausen (can any German in the crowd correct this?). The Secret Agent and I were enjoying the ride and had no intention to stop once the year and the Beer Brands in Israel 2011 book end.

A Comparative Literature undergrad, reference books and bibliographies are my comfort zone. In order to stay focused I bought us a new companion, that unlike the compact Israeli book that was easy to take along, sits at home, near the computer or on the coffee table: 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die (of liver failure?). This time, no deadline. The Journey is the destination. Since the Israeli beer market is tiny I thought it would be a good idea to document this phase in English, so here we are, in the world of liquor stores and mail-orders, road trips and begging. Trading too, maybe. I will also use this blog to share notes from the emerging local beer scene – tasting notes, brewery visits and general thoughts and when I get a raise and more paid holidays you’ll get to read about Beer Abroad.

So here it is and here I am.

Enjoy the ride,

MK Keren.

Bush 12% and Quintine Blond @ Vieux Moulin, Ecaussines, Belgium. October 2011

Bush 12% and Quintine Blond @ Vieux Moulin, Ecaussines, Belgium. October 2011


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