May 28, 2018

'Brothers of Light' -- Shapiro's new Imperial Chocolate Barrel-Aged Porter

Special labels; special bottles; special beer:
Shapiro Imperial Chocolate Barrel-Aged Porter.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
"You know, people who brew beer are always looking to do something different. Well, our brewers -- Yochai Kudler and Ori Sofer -- were thinking more like 'something crazy.' So we created this new beer, a strong Imperial Chocolate Porter, aged for six months in used oak bourbon barrels. You'll see, it's like no beer you've had before."


Itzik Shapiro, one of the partner-brothers at the Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh, was telling me about his new beer at the official launching in Jerusalem, just minutes before I would taste it.  I was dying to take a sip, but Itzik had more to say.

"We wanted everything special about this beer. We had the Brothers of Light street artists (Elna and Gab) design a unique peel-off label that you can then stick-on to your shirt, notebook, laptop or anything you want. They teamed up with Kobi Vogman to make an animated video about the beer.  [See below.]
Celebrating the beer launch in Jerusalem:
(from left) Jo Zander of Holy Cacao,
Shapiro siblings Dani, Itzik, Tamar and Zvi,
and the old blogger.

(Photo: Mike Horton)

"The Holy Cacao chocolate company in Pnei Hever provided us with the ground cocoa beans which we add to the malt mash. The oak bourbon barrels we borrowed from the Milk & Honey distillery in Tel Aviv. The half-liter bottle is also a special size, and we had to build a new bottling machine just to accommodate it.

"We brewed less than 2,000 bottles; no kegs at all. When these are gone, that's it."

Thank you, Itzik.  I'm really ready to taste the beer now.

Wow!  The Imperial Chocolate Barrel-Aged Porter, which is also called "Brothers of Light" in honor of the label designers, is a dark brown color with faint carbonation.  The aroma is winey, chocolate liqueur, and a trace of sorrel tartness.  The dominant flavors are oak, sweet chocolate and malt, with notes of vanilla, dried fruits and bourbon!  All this fades into a long and bitter-sweet finish.
The old blogger and Esteemed Taster Bob Faber
enjoying their first drink of the new
Shapiro Imperial Chocolate Barrel-Aged Porter.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
This is a beer that radiates strength -- in alcohol (9.2%) and in powerful flavors that resist being shared with any other food or beverage.  However, on the recent dairy-eating holiday of Shavuot, I paired some Brothers of Light with my wife's vegan cheesecake and blintzes, and it was superb.  The chocolate richness of the beer harmonizes with the "cheesiness" of the desserts.  Think of pouring a chocolate liqueur on your cheesecake and you have some idea of what happens.           

To experience the full flavors of this beer, don't drink it ice cold.  Take it out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you drink it.  I also think that this is one beer you can put away for a year or more and expect good changes to take place as it matures.  Remember to keep the bottle upright, unlike wine, which you "lay down."

If you want to try Shapiro Imperial Chocolate Barrel-Aged Porter, you should buy your bottles now, before they're all gone.  It's in all the beer specialty stores as well as those bottle shops and some restaurants that respect beer.  I've seen prices from 39 shekels to 45 shekels for the half-liter bottle.

So thank you, Itzik Shapiro (and brothers and sister) for the information.  But most important, thanks for letting me drink the beer!     


6 comments:

  1. Sounds amazing. I don't even spend that much on wine. Now I know what I want for my birthday...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where did this launch take place?

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    Replies
    1. I thought you'd never ask. Hamiffal in Jerusalem:

      https://www.facebook.com/hamiffal/

      Delete
  3. Hey brother, shavua Tov! If it’s not too much trouble can you pick me up a six pack and hold it for me? Sounds like my kind of beer!
    Hope you’re well my friend.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Shimon,
      No six-packs. They're half-liter bottles. I'll be happy to hold some for you. When will you be here again?

      Delete
  4. Thanks Doug! It may not be until fall.....I was in Jerusalem for a VERY short visit for Gilad’s Yizkor last week, just short time with my other kids. Whenever it is I look forward to seeing you old friend.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment. L'chayim!