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 “Israeli beer”

1001 Beer Quest Hits Tel Aviv!

Have you ever read the description of this blog? It begins with “Blogging about Israeli beer in general and Israeli craft beer in particular […]”, followed by the 1001 thing. Yet, not many entries are categorized under Beer in Israel. My Hebrew blog remains the hub of my Israeli beer entries, which tend to be both informative and critical. Local beer writing in the Beer Gatherer are supposed to be all shiny and bubbly, and introduce our small but growing industry to the English-reading world. Alas, with a full time job, 2 blogs, Ratebeer account maintenance and lots and lots of beer tastings that help me reach my 1001 goal, the Israeli aspect of this blog has been neglected. Also, due to the high cost of living in this country we had to sell our car. During the week it’s pretty cool, as public transportation to work, the city center and our local pub (we’ll get to the pub shortly) is frequent and effective, but it also means that we no longer jump into the car and visit breweries and far away pubs whenever we feel like.

This Sukkot holiday finally brings forth an entry about Israeli beer. Dancing Camel Brewing Company were the subject of the blog’s second entry. I wrote about their Cherry Vanilla Stout brewed for Hannukah, and 3 seasons later comes the Trog Wit. More than any other breweries around, DC are big on Seasonals, that in their world relate to Jewish Holidays: Carrobian Stout that’s brewed for Tu Bishvat, New Year of the Trees that’s celebrated by eating dried fruit, such as dried carobs;  613 – annual brewing of one of the brewery’s regular ales infused with pomegranates for Rosh HaShana. There’s also the full moon Golem, honors the legend on The Golem of Prague, an iced version of the IPA that’s served at the brewpub every month on full moon, with changing, tend-to-extreme abv. Beer is not kosher for Passover so there’s no seasonal at this time of the year, though more iced versions of the regular beers are served at the traditional Kick the Keg party held at the Brewpub.

And now comes Sukkot, with pretty neat traditions (saith the atheist), like having guests and sleeping under the stars and also special prayers and blessings such as the one for the Four Species. Etrog, The fruit of citron tree (aka yellow citron or citron medica), is one of the Species, to which are attributed both taste and aroma – hey, the two most important features in beer! – is the focal point of this seasonal.  ‘Trog Wit is based on Dancing Camel Hefe Wit, a Belgian-style wheat beer, but instead of the orange peel addition there are heaps of Etrogim. We drank it on the first day of Sukkot, at the pub, along with a glass of Golem (most Jewish holidays take place on the full moon), although it’s hard to say we went there especially for this seasonal. If there’s an assassin out there, looking for The Secret Agent and/ or me, they’d better head down to the Dancing Camel brewpub. That’s our main hub, where we pamper our livers when not in group tastings (and sometimes there are group tastings AT the Dancing Camel).

L-T-R: dancing Camel Golem and `Trog Wit

Anyway, you probably wanna read about the `Trog Wit, right? Well, it’s a cloudy and light coloured beer with banana and delicate flowery aroma accompanied by cool tartness. It tastes a little sour but also bubblegum sweet with a long, fruity finish that’s also a little sour.

‘Trog Wit’s a cool beer, refreshing and so suitable to the Israeli autumn which is actually summer with some showers. Moreover, it really captures the spirit of Brewmaster David Cohen, who immigrated to Israel with an intention to open the first ever microbrewery in this country, combining local ingredients, American brewing style and Jewish tradition for unique niche seasonals. Also, `Trog Wit is the one Israeli beer represented in the 1001 Book. Choosing this one is pretty strange, because not only is it available only in Israel, it is available only for a limited time every year and only at the Dancing Camel brewpubs, both are in Tel Aviv. Served only on tap, I won’t be surprised to find out about just as hard-to-get New Zealandi, Brazilian or South African beers. I need to save money for beer travel, I guess. Anybody wants to buy a kidney? Ovules? A liver lobe?

Meanwhile, that’s beer #116 I Must Try Before I Die.

Altneuland’s Brews

A few days ago The Secret Agent and I drank Herzl. Created by Maor Helfman and brewed at Mivshelet Ha’am (The People’s Brewery). We’ve heard a lot about Herzl, but couldn’t really find it in the usual beerfest circles, except Samuel Adams Longshot finals last summer. We drank it there, liked it but were too pissed to remember WHY we liked it.

It’s not as if now that the beer is brewed in Mivshelet Ha’am bottles of Herzl are offered in local pubs and at the supermarkets, but, well, it’s a little less scarce. We tasted two bottles: Herzl Del Habano, brewed with real Cuban cigar leaves and Herzl Katamon, named after either  Katamon neighbourhood in Jerusalem or after Hapoel Katamon basketball team. The beer being red ale and Hapoel Katamon’s uniforms being red, I’d suspect the latter.

Katamon is cloudy ruby-brown beer, with sweet aroma that reminds me dried figs. Its flavours are rich and sweet with a bitter finish, medium body and fine carbonation. Well balanced and good. Herzl Del Habano is brown and opaque, with a small brown head. I smelled roastiness, burnt wood, smoke and fruit. Herzl Del Habano is much more bitter and dry, but despite all the wood and the smoke, it is rather light-bodied and easily drinkable. Its finish is sweet and a little burning.

Both are really good, but the Del Habano is better. I hope to get to drink Maor Helfman’s creations more often.

Hannukah Beer

I actually didn’t plan to post something today, but after logging in to Ratebeer and seeing all that red-and-white in the front page I decided to join the party and write about the seasonal I drank on Thursday and then on Saturday evening.

Being my current Local, I believe that The Dancing Camel brewpub and the beers brewed in its premises will be covered quite extensively in this blog. On top of the ~4 regular beers on tap, David the owner is all about seasonal and festive beers. Hanukkah’s is Cherry Vanilla Stout. Heavy, sweet and inspired by the traditional jelly donuts that are becoming rather scarce, with fancy coatings and fillings taking up their space on bakery shelves and in people’s bellies. The Secret Agent and I met at the Dancing Camel on Thursday after work for a quick pint before a show we ended up not attending. It was the first time I tried the brew black, opaque liquid that smells heavily of vanilla and a little of espresso, but just a little. The flavours are rich and heavy as well.

I was a little overwhelmed on Thursday and took sips from The Secret Agent’s APA – it was just too sweet and too heavy for me. Then on Saturday night we dropped by again for a second chance. I liked it better yesterday, maybe because I had already known to expect a vanilla blitzkrieg.



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