August 14, 2018

Hadera and Givat Shmuel beer festivals next week

I've received complaints that I haven't been giving readers enough lead time for the beer festivals that are coming at us right and left at a crazy pace.  And they're right.  So here are two for next week; time for you to make plans, pick out your wardrobe, water the plants and hire the babysitter.

Hadera Beer Festival
August 22-23

The second annual Hadera Beer Festival is returning to the Piazza pedestrian mall (Herbert Samuel) on Wednesday and Thursday, August 22-23, beginning each night at 7:00.  Entrance is free, and there will be "tens" of different kinds of beer, food stands and live entertainment by HaYehudim and Full Trunk with Sha'anan Streett of HaDag Nachash (though it isn't clear on which nights they are appearing).

More information in Hebrew on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2025008244236724/


Givat Shmuel Beer Festival
August 23

Those of you in the Givat Shmuel area finally have a local beer festival -- the first Givat Shmuel Beer Festival, Thursday, August 23, in the new Event Garden on the corner of HaZeitim and HaNassi Streets.  Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

This is being organized by the same Alechko Neznansky who has been doing beer festivals around the country.  The system in all of these is the same.

Entrance is free, but you pay for the beer and the food.  Tickets will be sold for three, four or five glasses of beer, with discounts for soldiers and students.  Gluten-free beer and cider will be available.  

Among the permanent "tips" from the organizers:  

* Come by foot or public transportation
* Come early
* Drink responsibly
* Bring mats and folding chairs

Facebook page in Hebrew is at: https://www.facebook.com/events/2166199673659750/     

If you have any questions for further information, send e-mail to: alechkopro@gmail.com

August 12, 2018

Three beer festivals this week: Afula, Goma Intersection, Modi'in


As the festival season heats up (literally and figuratively), this week is bringing along three kinetic beer festivals:  Afula in the central Galilee (August 14), the Goma Intersection in the Upper Galilee (August 14-15), and Modi'in in the center of the country (August 16). 
       Afula Beer and Food Trucks Festival
      August 14

Named the Afula Beer and Food Trucks Festival, this one opens on Tuesday night, August 14, at 6:00 p.m. in the Afula train station.  Admission is free.  Musical entertainment will be provided by Moti Taka and Chanan Ben Ari.    

Over 45 brands of Israeli and foreign beers will be on sale.  What seems to be the emerging pattern, you can buy vouchers for three, four or five glasses of beer, and there will be discounts for soldiers and students.  The organizers went out of their way to ensure vegetarians and vegans that they will not go hungry at the festival.  Gluten-free beer will also be available.    

Children are welcome to the station area if accompanied by a parent, but you must be over 18 to enter the beer stands.  Participants are reminded to come early, take public transportation and drink responsibly.

For additional information in Hebrew, see the Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/210273189677886/

Or e-mail to: alechkopro@gmail.com



   The First Beerzia at the Goma Intersection
August 14-15

The first Beerzia, the Israel Beer Festival in the Galilee, will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, August 14-15, at the Goma Intersection south of Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Galilee.  The gates open each evening at 5:00, and entrance and parking is free.  There is no announcement of how many different beers will be poured, but the usual "good beer, good food and good music" are promised.  

More information in Hebrew on the Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/282994659113905/
  


 Modi'in Beer Festival
August 16

The Modi'in Beer Festival is returning again this year on Thursday, August 16, in the courtyard of the Azriel Mall.  I really enjoyed myself there last year.

Mr. and Mrs. Old Blogger with
Bob and Chana Faber at last year's
Modi'in Beer Festival.
The same Alechko organization which is running the Afula Festival (above) is also doing the Modi'in Festival.  The announcement was in identical language, including the typos!

Six p.m. is when the doors open; free admission; 45 different brands of beers, food stands, music, etc.  Even the coupons for buying three, four or five glasses of beer are the same.  You can buy the coupons ahead of time and save a little money at:  https://www.eventer.co.il/modinbeerfest2  

More information in Hebrew on the Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2070403793032632/

August 10, 2018

Petach Tikva Beer Festival -- Saturday night, August 11


Tomorrow night, August 11, beginning at 8:30 (after Shabbat), the Petach Tikva Beer Festival is opening in the Shacham parking lot.  If you're in the area, I can't think of a nicer way to spend Saturday night.  Forty brands of beer -- 40 -- from Israel and abroad will be on sale.  Food stands, of course, and  places to sit down and enjoy the beer and the food -- and the music.  Live performances by Ivri Lider and the Mercedes Band. 

Entrance is free.  If you click here (https://www.eventer.co.il/ptk), you can buy tickets which will get you three glasses of a third-of-a liter of beer for 69 shekels, or five glasses for 99 shekels.  If you buy the tickets at the Festival, it will cost you more.  If you're from Petach Tikva, and you have a residence card to prove it, a glass of beer costs only 15 shekels. 

More information here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/199245930914849/?active_tab=about     

August 5, 2018

Netanya Beer Festival -- August 8-9


The next beer festival this week is in Netanya, Wednesday and Thursday, August 8-9, at the Kikar Ha'atzmaut (Independence Square).

The organizers, Beer in the City, promise craft beers from Israel and abroad, live performances and stands for street food.  Entrance is free and the doors open at six o'clock each evening.  The popular rap group Hadag Nachash will be performing, but it's not clear which of the days.  

More information at: https://www.facebook.com/events/241740263293818/?active_tab=about

BEERS 2019 Exhibition scheduled for Tel Aviv, April 29-30


The organizers of the BEERS Exhibition, the Ben Ami Agency, have announced that it will take place April 29-30, 2019, in the Heichal Tarbut (Charles Bronfman Auditorium) in Tel Aviv.  As I reported to you here, this year's BEERS festival, originally scheduled for August 7-9, 2018, was canceled. 

In their announcement, the Ben Ami Agency first praised beer festivals for the enjoyment they bring to so many people and for their importance in building a beer culture in Israel.  However, the announcement continued, this decision by the organizers to hold an "exhibition" instead of a "festival" will take it to a "much higher place."  The event will "meet the professional needs of the restaurant and bar industry in Israel (before the start of the 2019 beer season), along with a very high level beer experience for the general public."  More information will be provided as it becomes available.

From the comments I have seen on social media, opinions seem pretty evenly divided between those who welcome the change to an indoor exhibition in the spring, and those who would prefer the enjoyment of an outdoor festival in the summer.             

July 30, 2018

Golden Beer 2018: Winners and unanswered questions

The Golden Beer competition in Israel was started last year by the Ben Ami Studio, the same agency which produces the BEERS Exhibit in Tel Aviv.  It is open only to commercial beers, that is, brewers with a legal production license. 

Last year, 26 prizes were awarded in nine categories, and they were all Israeli craft brewers.  [Read about that competition here.]   

This year, seven beers won prizes in only two categories (Pale Ale and India Pale Ale), and they included two imported beers from Scotland!  

Here are the winners of the Golden Beer 2018 competition:


Pale Ale
First:  Typhoon -- HaDubim (The Bears)
Second:  Vagabond -- BrewDog (Scotland)
Third:  Dead Pony -- BrewDog (Scotland)

IPA
First: Dark Matter -- HaShachen (The Neighbor)
Second:  IPA -- Shapiro
Third:  Pressure Drop -- HaShachen (The Neighbor)
Honorable Mention:  The Ugly Beer -- Ronen  

After seeing these results, I had questions about the numbers and the participation of foreign beers.  So, calling on my rapidly receding background as a journalist, I thought I might ask a few questions. 
   
I first spoke with Rotem Bar Ilan, partner-brother of HaDubim (The Bears) Brewery, whose Typhoon Pale Ale took first place in that category.  He opined that limiting the competition to only two categories provided the event with greater focus and made it easier on the judging.  Concerning the imported beers, Rotem said that he heard that the organizers believed that Israeli craft beers have now reached a level where they can compete with foreign breweries.  


No automatic alt text available.
HaShachen Brewery won
first and third prizes in the
IPA category.
According to Itay Marom of HaShachen (The Neighbor) Brewery, whose Dark Matter and Pressure Drop won first and third prizes in the IPA category, the organizers of the Golden Beer contest are to be congratulated for holding Israel's only competition for commercial brewers.  He suggests that the reason there were only two categories is that there are enough Israeli brewers making Pale Ale and IPA to make this a real competition.  Most other styles do not have this critical mass.            

I'm not convinced.  If that were the case, why was it necessary to allow foreign beers to compete?  And how can you explain that only nine beers were entered in the Pale Ale category, which had three winners (two of which were foreign beers!), and 14 were entered in the IPA category, which had four winners.  I think by anybody's count, the number of winners vis-a-vis the number of entries were too small to give the results of the competition any relevance.

Others mentioned that it is not beyond feasibility that the import agency had the necessary clout to get its beers into the competition, even though the original intention was just for Israeli beers.       

Not that this takes anything away from the accomplishments of the winners.  Gadi Deviri, one of Israel's most respected beer judges and a member of the Golden Beer judging panel, said that all of the entries were judged blindly and the best beers were chosen as winners.  There was no way to distinguish between the Israeli beers and the foreign beers.                 

Gadi also told me that he remembers that last year's Golden Beer also included foreign entries.  If that's so, I asked him, how does he explain that all of the 26 prizes went to Israeli beers?  That was "weird," he admitted. 

I continued searching and found a multilogue on Facebook involving Gal Granov, who blogs at Whisky Israel (www.WhiskyIsrael.co.il), one of the top 40 whisky blogs in the world.  Gal was also asking why there were foreign entries in what was heralded as an Israeli competition, and which beers these were.  No answers were forthcoming.

When I spoke with Gal, he told me to take these beer (and other beverage) competitions with a "grain of salt."  "I have seen whisky contests where they make categories so that everyone is a winner.  You have a right to be suspicious of them all."

As I said, the winners deserve our congratulations.  There's no denying that.  But there are still unanswered questions regarding the background to the competition itself, the categories chosen and the beers entered.  

If you would like to join this conversation, your comments are cordially invited.             

July 28, 2018

Kfar Saba Beer Festival -- July 29-30


Breaking with tradition to hold beer festivals towards the weekend, the fourth annual Kfar Saba Beer Festival is taking place this Sunday and Monday, July 29 and 30.  Held in the Courtyard of the shuk (market), the festival will begin each day at 7:00 p.m. and will include food stands and live music, featuring Erez Lev Ari on Sunday, and Guy and Yahel on Monday.  Entrance is free!  

Over 40 Israeli craft beers will be served from the following breweries: Buster's, Malka, Ronen, Emek Ha'ela, Barzel, Jem's, Shapiro, HaGibor, Bazelet, and Dancing Camel.  

More information at: https://www.facebook.com/events/209136826598943/?active_tab=aboutי