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 craft beer”

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.

Flowers in the Attic

the logo - work in progress

One of the reasons we started this English-language blog is sharing the wonderful and ever-evolving Israeli beer scene with the rest of the world. Wonderful and ever-evolving is a good description for today’s post, brothers Nimrod and Yotam Rosenblatt, aka In The Attic, who hail from Tel Aviv’s suburb Holon.
But first, a disclosure: Nimrod is a friend. We first met because of our common interest in alcohol but a year or two later we are proud to count him as a true friend. Also for the record, we bought 2 of the beers we’d write about (Truman XP and Sage); the third (Red) was a birthday gift for MK.
Having written all that, let’s boogie.
In their (Hebrew alert!) blog, Nimrod and Yotam Rosenblatt describe themselves as “2 brothers who were bitten by the bug – experience and experiment with everything from winemaking, homebrewing, liquor-making, distilling rum [I shit you not! and it’s a really good rum too – Beergatherer], and probably more stuff – got any idea for us? We consider ourselves as ‘garage winery’ – so garage that we actually operate from the attic”

As you can probably guess, brewing is not the core business over at the attic. The Attic Beer is not a regular participant in local fests and tastings. I don’t think it was publicly served besides Beers 2011 and Beers 2012 expos in Tel Aviv. Regardless, the Rosenblatts are passionate about their brews and as with everything else they make, their beer is a fascinating learning process which they are happy to share with their blog readers. A learning process it is, but only batches that pass Nimrod and Yotam’s QA are offered for sale to those who are interested and know how to reach them, under the name Fush Fush, Yotam’s childhood nickname.

In The Attic at Beers2012 Expo

On Sunday evening The Secret Agent and I had a small get-together in our living room: us two, DSG and our Jersey Shore girlfriend, who is also Nimrod’s friend, but from a parallel, non-alcoholic universe. DSG and us had tasted In The Attic’s beers before – at this and last year’s expos and in other occasions, but we were all looking forward to focus our taste buds solemnly on these brews.

We started the evening with Fush Fush Sage, brewed on December 3rd 2011 and bottled on Boxing Day. Comparing the label to Rosenblatt Brothers’ blog entry I see that the ABV jumped a little from yesteryear’s 5.9% to 6.1%.

No, that’s not an ale spiced up with sage, but rather Saison-inspired ale where sage replaces hops in 2:3 ratio. The result is cloudy ruby-bronze coloured beer that pours beautifully with a big foam head. Here, have a look:

Home tasting

As any tea-drinker knows, sage is a bitter and dominant motherfucker. It takes over the nose with its herbal, green aroma. Its dominance was more apparent in the nose than in the mouth, because although the beer is sage-bitter, the taste is not nearly as dominant as the smell. Then comes the aftertaste and the sage once again pops in. Fush Fush Sage is unusual in all aspects. I am used to bitter beers, but this goes beyond the “whose IBU is higher” contest. I think that more balanced between the aroma and the taste would make it an even better beer.

We proceeded to Fush Fush Red, pale ale gifted to me by Nimrod. “You love grainy beer, so here you go”, he said. Brewed and bottled on the same days as their sage beer, the red holds 5.2% ABV. Pours hazy brown with minimal white foam, Fush Fush red has sweetish, almost oatmeal or maybe porridge aroma that I liked a lot. It tastes bitter-sweet and has this weird oil-like texture on the tongue and a long, pleasing aftertaste. That was my favourite beer in the tasting. No gimmicks, no fancy story, just fun and grainy beer.

The 3rd beer we had is Fush Fush Truman XP 1883, an IPA. Looks like recently everyone here’s been brewing IPA, and whereas I love, love, LOVE this style, I can’t help but feeling a bit o.d’d on Amarillo hops and grapefruit aroma. But the Rosenblatt Brothers are the last to jump on the bandwagon and theirs is anything but American-style IPA. Quite the contrary, actually. Nimrod and Yotam were trying to figure out what is it that the British troops drank in India. Their research brought up a recipe dated from 1883 and used for export beer by Truman Brewery. 7% ABV, Brewed on Shabbat, September 24 and bottled on December 4th, this ale that consists of variety of American, English, Czech and German hops pours orangey and opaque with a big foam head. I noticed vanilla soap in the nose and also soapiness in the mouth – now that’s a brutally bitter beer! the aftertaste is long and – surprise! – bitter, the beer is carbonated and all in all was fun on the tongue.

I am really looking forward to experience more of Nimrod and Yotam’s research and creativity.

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