|The family that brews together . . . |
Ronnie and Sharon Calderon
The beers are named after Ronnie's three children (Tamara, Alon and Omer). their little son Naveh, and mother, father, brothers and even brother-in-law. It's a cute marketing device, and I personally believe that beers should have names.
Sharon explains how she and Ronnie came to home-brewing:
"The both of us come from a food background -- Ronnie is a trained chef and I was the owner of food stores in Jerusalem. In 2006, when we were going together, I sent Ronnie to a beer-making course as a birthday present. It not only hooked him, but me as well.
"We started out making three beers -- a stout, a brown ale and a Belgian trippel, and we named them after Ronnie's children. In 2008, we served the beers at our wedding, and our guests raved about them."
The Calderons began brewing more seriously, adding more beers to their repertoire. Today, Hashahar makes seven ales:
|Naveh smoked ale is too new to|
even be in the family portrait.
Alon -- A brown ale (5.5%), made with maximally roasted barley, flavored with French oak chips.
Omer -- A strong stout (6.5%) that I found especially pleasing. It's less sweet than others of its kind, nicely bitter with traces of coffee and chocolate (a good imagination helps). Omer won the gold medal for stouts in the 2011 Beer International Recognition Awards.
Yosef -- A bavarian wheat ale, 6%.
Eitan -- A traditional IPA, with strong hoppiness (it's dry hopped after the initial fermentation) and alcohol (6%). French oak chips are also added during fermentation.
Mazal -- At 10% ABV, this is a very strong dark ale. Additional flavorings include cinnamon and cloves.
Naveh -- Their newest, a smoked ale, which I really like. The addition of sage leaves adds a different twist to the bitterness. As far as I know this is the only smoked ale made in Israel. (Readers may correct me.) Known in German as rauchbier, it gets its smoky flavor from malted barley which is dried over an open flame. The Schlenkerla smoked beer from Bamberg is (or was) sold in Israel.
"People come from all over the area to buy our beer," says Sharon, "and in the meantime that's enough for us." Today, Hashahar brews about 120 liters a month. Sharon and Ronnie love brewing beer, but they are keeping their day jobs -- she runs a day care center and he works in the field of communications.
To expand into a real business would take a considerable investment in facilities and equipment. Sharon adds: "Of course, we wouldn't mind taking the next step and expanding sales into stores and restaurants. Perhaps you know of a possible investor . ."