With these words, Assaf Lavi, the owner of Malka Brewery on Kibbutz Yechiam in the western Upper Galilee, announced the inauguration of Malka's new IPA -- Malka Hindi.
Recently, however, Lavi noticed that more people were asking for the Malka IPA at their own brewpub, where it was being served on tap on an experimental basis. "Our kegs were emptying fast," says Lavi. "I thought that maybe Israeli tastes have developed enough to support the entry of our IPA to the general market."
In the U.S., India pale ale is one of the most popular craft beer categories. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a craft brewer in America that doesn't make at least one of those hoppy, bitter beers -- where International Bittering Units (IPU), the universally accepted scale of bitterness in beers, reach the 40 to 70 level. Alcohol by volume is usually in the 6% to 8% range.
"I don't know how long it took IPAs to become popular in the U.S.," says Lavi, "but it was probably longer than it's taking in Israel. We tend to speed up any process over here."
Malka Hindi weighs in at 6.2% alcohol, a nice stiff drink, while the bitterness is 30-40 IBUs, less than the average IPA and a concession to Israeli tastes. In addition to hops with alpha acids (for the bitter flavor) and hops with beta acids (for the aroma) which are used during the wort boiling, Hindi is also "dry hopped" during the fermentation process.
Malka Hindi pours cloudy, with a pretty red-copper color, resulting from the caramel malts that are used. The aroma is actually less hoppy than other IPAs, with citrus, tart fruits and pine dominating. The taste, as expected, is medium bitter, with sweet malt and fresh berries in there. What I found so appealing is the balance that Hindi achieves between the hops and the malt, the bitter and the sweet. Although it's a good, classic IPA, it doesn't have the hop overload which may trouble some beer drinkers. It's a beautiful enjoyable beer, and a welcome addition to Malka's line -- and to Israeli craft beer.
|"Malka" in Sanskrit.|