December 16, 2018

New Beer Bazaar in the Jaffa Flea Market

Opening night at the Beer Bazaar in
the Jaffa Flea Market.
A few weeks ago, the sixth branch of the Beer Bazaar opened in the Jaffa Flea Market (7 Olei Zion Street), known in Hebrew as the Shuk Hapishpeshim.  At the invitation of the branch owner, Avi Moskowitz, photographer Mike Horton and I descended from Jerusalem to attend the opening.

We arrived early in the evening, but within an hour-and-a-half, the new pub+store was packed with beer-thirsty Tel Avivians eager for another place to enjoy their favorite beverage.  Of course it didn't hurt that the Beer Bazaar was offering free tastes of any of the 100+ Israeli craft beers lining their shelves.

"Give respect to the beer":
Over 100 kinds of Israeli craft beer on the
shelves of the new Beer Bazaar. 
(Photo: Mike Horton)
These shelves, by the way, are dramatically backlit to put the bottles in the spotlight, as it were.  Circular indentations are cut into the shelves to hold each individual bottle.  "This is how we give respect to the beer," Avi explains.

In an adjacent small barroom, Yarden Rivlin, manager of the Beer Bazaar in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda market, was giving continuous orientation sessions on beer styles, while participants were treated to free bottles of beer.

Avi Moskowitz (right) joins the
old blogger for some free craft beer tastings.

(Photo: Mike Horton) 
The menu for opening night was only hot dogs and French fries, but now the restaurant has the same kosher menu as the Beer Bazaar in Jerusalem.  It also has 20 taps for draft beers -- eight or so are the Beer Bazaar's own brand, made at their brewery in Kiryat Gat, while the others are from different craft brewers around the country.

Avi, who is also an owner of the Jerusalem Beer Bazaar, explains: "Even though this is the sixth Beer Bazaar branch, it is only the second one that is kosher.  The feedback from many people was that there was a need for a kosher restaurant in the Jaffa Flea Market."

Avi Moskowitz, owner of the new
Beer Bazaar in the Jaffa Flea Market,
pumps beer from one of the 20 taps.

(Photo: Mike Horton) 
Avi also said that the Flea Market is undergoing the same process of gentrification as Machane Yehuda: Stalls that were once full of antiques are now fancy restaurants and bars.  In fact, Mike and I took a walk around the area of the Beer Bazaar and saw a number of exclusive shops and restaurants, yet couldn't find a place to buy a simple pita bread with hummus!

"For the market to stay interesting, it has to change and adjust," says Avi.  "By introducing Israeli craft beer, we're not only supporting the local economy but also helping other businesses in the market.  In Machane Yehuda, for example, the produce stalls around Beer Bazaar stay open late and sell because of the increased traffic that the restaurants and bars bring."

A view from above at the new Beer Bazaar
in the Jaffa Flea Market.

(Photo: Mike Horton) 
The staff of the new Beer Bazaar were trained at the Machane Yehuda store, learning the background of beer and brewing in general, and Israeli craft beer in particular.  Avi calls this the "Beer Bazaar University," and every member of the staff has to graduate it.  "They are representing Israeli craft beer," Avi claims, "a very important assignment."

"Craft beer reflects what is going on in this country.  People are developing a greater appreciation for hand-crafted food, wine and beer.  They are demanding more and getting more.  And we are very proud that Beer Bazaar can be a part of that."

I left the Beer Bazaar with a bottle of the most recent addition to their own line of beers.  It's named Pishpesh, which in Hebrew means "flea," in honor of the new store's location.  It's a light ale (5.5% alcohol by volume), not completely pale but light amber.  It's brewed with four kinds of hops, but there are no distinguishing aromas, except perhaps a little hay.  The taste is a clean bitterness which balances the malt nicely but adds no real flavors.  I think its neutral bitter taste will pair well with a wide range of foods, for example, spicy and salty dishes, curries, pizza, aged cheeses, and sweet desserts.    

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