September 8, 2017

Wheat and mango in new beers

I've just had the pleasure of tasting two pretty new beers which are now being sold in beer specialty shops and selected liquor stores.  They are quite different, but both in my opinion are welcome additions to the craft beer panoply in Israel. 

Beer Bazaar Wheatney

The Beer Bazaar Brewery in Kiryat Gat (known in Hebrew as Mivshelet Ha'aretz) has come out with Wheatney, their own version of a German-style wheat beer ("weissbier") for the "Israeli taste."  As I've written before, wheat beers seem to very popular in Israel and every craft brewery wants one in its repertoire.

Lior Weiss (no relation to the beer), a partner and brewer of Beer Bazaar, told me that Wheatney is based on his unique recipe of Pilsner malt, wheat and rye.  The alcohol by volume is 5%, very comfortable if you're having more than one on a hot day.

Wheatney is straw colored, slightly hazy, with active carbonation and a huge frothy head.  The aroma is very typical of this weissbier style: banana and cloves, but with an herbal background from the hops and some toasty malt.  The flavor is also quite marked by the banana and cloves, with the hops adding fruit and spice but very little bitterness.  The finish is sweet and medium lasting.

If you're a wheat beer fan, and apparently many Israelis are, you can't go wrong with Wheatney.

HeChatzer Double Kruzo

(Photo: HeChatzer Brewery)
HeChatzer Brewery ("Back Yard Beer") has introduced another version of their popular mango beer Kruzo, called Double Kruzo because it's made with twice the amount of mango and twice the amount of dry hopping.  (Read about Kruzo at last year's Jerusalem Beer Festival here.)  The beer is brewed in commercial quantities at the Srigim Brewery.

Double Kruzo is at base a pale ale.  The color is hazy pale orange, with an active carbonation that I appreciated.  The aroma was very hoppy, with citrus and tropical fruits being dominant, and some grass.  The bitter mango comes through in the taste, though very understated; in fact, not much more so than the original Kruzo.  Other fruit tastes are also there from the Magnum and Citra hops: citrus, tropical fruits and pineapple.  The mouthfeel is very creamy, and the finish moderately bitter and refreshing.  Alcohol by volume is 5.3%.

HaChatzer partners Yochai Maytal, Ariel Chinn and Shachaf Ashkenazi have demonstrated their talent and innovation on numerous occasions, and Double Kruzo is definitely further proof of that.     

September 4, 2017

September beer festivals

A few more beer festivals are coming up this week and the next.  I have been told that some of these festivals, including those which took place earlier this summer, are basically private affairs, held under the auspices of one brewery or one importer.  "You can't really call these 'beer festivals,' can you?" I was asked.

Well, that may be true, but I've decided to write about all such events and let the readers decide for themselves.  As far as I'm concerned, if it's an event you can go out to, drink some good beer with friends and strangers, and enjoy yourself -- you can't get enough!   

September 8

Already at the end of this week, Friday, September 8, beginning at 10 in the morning until 4:00 p.m., the annual Alexanderfest is being held at the WIN Events Garden, 1 Hatelem Street in the Emek Hefer Industrial Park, very close to the Alexender Brewery.  Entrance is free, and all of the Alexander craft beers will be on sale.  There will also be a lot of food and live music.  Alexanderfest "beerchandise," including shirts, hats and beer mugs, will also be on sale at special prices.

A new Alexander beer, Israeli Golden Ale (IGA), will be unveiled at the festival.  I'm told this is a light pale ale, modeled on the British style, crisp and very thirst quenching.            

The first Modi'in Beer Festival will be held Wednesday and Thursday, September 13 and 14, adjacent to the city's main Azrieli Mall.  Doors open every day at 5:00 p.m. and close at 11:00.  Only those over 18 will be allowed in, and entrance is free.

Over 40 kinds of beer from Israel and abroad will be on sale.   

There's an interesting concept for buying beers:  Tickets will be sold for three, four or five glasses of beer (each glass a quarter of a liter).  The cost for the tickets at the festival are 50 shekels for three glasses, 65 shekels for four glasses, and 80 shekels for five glasses.  Discounts for soldiers and students.       

You can buy discounted tickets ahead of time online (at for 47 shekels, 60 shekels, and 70 shekels.

Organizer Alechko Neznansky says that there will be food stands and food trucks, arts and crafts booths, live music, and places to sit down to enjoy the beer, food and atmosphere.

If you have any questions, you can direct them to e-mail:

Israel Oktoberfest
Tel Aviv -- September 13-15
Rehovot -- September 13-14
Hod Hasharon -- October 8-10
Herzliya -- October 9-10

These four "Israel Oktoberfests" are modeled after the famous Oktoberfest held every year in Munich, Germany (this year from September 16 to October 4).  The only beers being served at these two festivals are imports from the giant Paulaner Brewery in Munich, which is also sponsoring these events.

The main "Oktoberfest" will be held in the Paulaner Beer Garden adjacent to the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.  The three-day event will run September 13-15: Wednesday and Thursday beginning at 7:00 p.m., and Friday from noon to 5:00 p.m. 

The second festival is Wednesday and Thursday, September 13 and 14, at the Rehovot Science Park.  

The "Oktoberfest" in Hod Hasharon will be held October 8-10, Sunday to Tuesday (during the Sukkot holiday), beginning at 5:00 p.m. each day, in the Paulaner Beer Garden in the Sharonim Mall.  

Finally, the Herzliya version will take place at the Azrieli Outlet Center, 85 Medinat Hayehudim Street, on October 9 and 10 (Monday and Tuesday), also during Sukkot.    

For these above four "Oktoberfests," there is no information on the Facebook page or the website regarding entrance fee (if any) or cost for the beer, but a phone number is given for inquiries:  052-652-2226.  I left a message for them to call me back, but it hasn't happened (yet).     

All of these festivals include the same elements: Lots of Paulaner beer, an Oktoberfest atmosphere (minus the drunken loutishness which invades Munich, I hope), Bavarian food and entertainment, large wooden tables, costumed waitresses, arts and crafts booths, games and family activities.  The "alcohol area," restricted to those over 18, will be separate from the "family area."     

There won't be any Israeli craft beers at these guys, but it sounds like there might be fun.  Drink moderately.

More information on the Facebook page:

and on the website:

Another Oktoberfest, this time in the Katzrin Park on the Golan Heights, will take place during Sukkot, October 8-9, in the framework of the third Sounds of Basalt Festival.  On those two evenings, beginning at 8:30, the Katzrin Park will host the Golan Beer Festival, which will include the beers of the Golan Brewery (Bazelet) in Katzrin, food, colorful costumes, and live music.