September 24, 2023

The old blogger on The Jewish Drinking Show: Contemporary Beer Trends in Israel

I was very excited to be interviewed by Rabbi Drew Kaplan for his Jewish Drinking Show podcast.  We spoke about Contemporary Beer Trends in Israel (very broadly!) right in the middle of Jerusalem's Machaneh Yehuda market.

This is what Rabbi Drew wrote in his introduction:

Having previously sat down with The Jerusalem Post's wine writer to discuss contemporary trends in wine in Israel, the newest episode of The Jewish Drinking Show features The Jerusalem Post's beer writer. As part of the Toast to Israel at 75 mini-series, Doug Greener and Rabbi Drew Kaplan get together over beers in the Macḥaneh Yehuda Market in Jerusalem to discuss contemporary beer trends in Israel.


Born in New York City, Greener made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 1971. Married for 54 years, Greener has three sons and five grandkids. Having worked in journalism, advertising, and public relations, he began writing regularly about beer in Israel a decade ago on his Israel Brews and Views blog in 2013 and has been the beer writer for The Jerusalem Post.


Amongst other topics we discussed, we discussed the Israel Museum's 2023 exhibit on drinking parties, the first commercially-available beer made from 3,000-year old yeast (which we drank), and more. You can also check out Greener's article that came out around the time of our recording regarding new spring and summer beers in Israel.

Support the show. Thank you for listening!

If you have any questions, suggestions, or more, feel free to reach out at


Please click on the link below to view the interview on Youtube:

The following link will bring you the Jewish Drinking site where you can also choose to hear the interview as an Apple or Spotify podcast, "or wherever else you prefer listening to podcasts."

September 6, 2023

New Ziland Red ➯ A memorial ale from Chalutz Chadash

New Ziland Red, an English Bitter-style ale
from the Chalutz Chadash ("New Pioneer") Brewery:
Malty aroma and flavor with a dry, bitter finish.

The Chalutz Chadash ("New Pioneer") Brewery in Beersheva has issued New Ziland Red, a Memorial Ale honoring the New Zealand troops who fought in the battle of Ayun Kara (today near the city of Rishon LeZion in Israel) against the Ottoman army on November 14, 1917.

This isn't the first time that Chalutz Chadash owner Gilad Ne-Eman has honored the ANZAC forces who fought here in World War I.  A few years back, he brewed Bill the Bastard, an Australian Pale Ale named after one of the cavalry horses that took part in the battle of Beersheva.  Here too, Australian and New Zealand troops attacked and defeated the Ottoman army.

(Read about Bill the Bastard here.)  

The beer honors the New Zealand soldiers and 
Mounted Rifle cavalrymen who fought
in the Holy Land in World War I.

New Ziland Red is called an English Bitter on the label.  It pours out a brownish red or dark amber.  The aroma is malty and earthy, with my fellow IBAV Taster Oded adding "burnt caramel."  The taste has a similar nutty maltiness along with bread and caramel.  

Taster Bat Sheva said that she would categorize it as a Brown Ale rather than a Bitter.  "The taste is rather flat," she surmised, while Oded found it "watery."

The hop bitterness makes itself felt in the finish, so the English Bitter quality is maintained. 

New Ziland Red was brewed at the Sheeta Brewery in Arad, and alcohol by volume is 5.1%.  It is available in beer specialty stores, and can be ordered from the Chalutz Chadash website (Hebrew).

August 20, 2023

Malka Brewery opens Israel's first craft beer canning line

Israel's first craft beer in cans:
Malka Hoppy Wheat,
IPA, Blonde Ale and
Pale Ale.

(Photo montage by 
Bat Sheva Yanir)

You might not have noticed, but beer from the Malka Brewery has been available in cans for the past month or so.  Of course, why would you notice something as axiomatic as craft beer in cans?

But this is a big deal.  The Malka Brewery in the Tefen Industrial Park (way up north) has installed Israel's first craft beer canning line.  

The Israeli mega-brewing duopoly –Tempo Beer Industries in Netanya, and Israel Beer Breweries Ltd. (IBBL) in Ashkelon – have been selling their beers in cans and bottles for decades.  And I can think of two collaborative beers which were brewed and canned in a foreign brewery before being shipped to Israel and marketed: Desert Haze (brewed in Belgium by Mikkeller and Negev Brewery) and How's It Hanging? (brewed in Norway by Lervig and Schnitt).

But this is the first time our craft beers are being "canned in Israel."

Now I know people who don't drink beer out of cans, believing that it's somehow inferior to beer in bottles.  Bottles have a higher status than cans.  They also have more "heft" when you hold them in your hand.  

But cans are actually better for beer in a number of ways.  Here are some:

Two big enemies of beer are light and oxygen, and cans keep them both out better than bottles do.  The third enemy is heat, but in this regard, cans are no better than bottles.  However, aluminum cans cool down faster than glass bottles, allowing the beer inside to chill quicker when placed in the fridge.

Aluminum cans have many advantages
over bottles for containing beer! 

Cans are easier to take with you.  They're lighter than glass bottles, they don't break and they're easier to store.

For those interested in ecological sustainability, aluminum is much more recyclable than glass, and its lighter weight requires less energy for transporting.  

And then there's the issue of Israeli beaches: Cans are allowed; bottles are not!

Malka CEO Gilad Dror told me that the cans give the brewery an opportunity to refresh the brand with more space for new colors and designs.  "We are also making a statement," he continued, "that Malka is a state of the art brewery with the most advanced machinery, and we will always strive to be at the top of technology and quality." 

One final reminder:  Even though you can now buy and keep Malka's four core beers in cans (Hoppy Wheat, IPA, Blonde Ale and Pale Ale), don't drink the beer directly from the can.  Always pour it into a glass first.  First, because the metal touching your lips will affect the taste of the beer.  But more important, the narrow opening of the can prevents you from enjoying the aroma of the beer, which everybody knows is an important part of the craft beer experience.

August 16, 2023

Belgian Tripel from the Sheeta Brewery

Belgian Tripel Ale from the
Sheeta Brewery in Arad:
Strong, malty, flavorful –
and gift wrapped! 

A new Belgian Tripel beer has been brewed and introduced by the Sheeta Brewery in Arad.  Instead of a label, it's gift wrapped with the name, Strong Beer in the Belgian Tripel Style, so I guess that's what it's called.

The Belgian Tripel style has not often been brewed in Israel, and then only as a seasonal offering.  In fact, the only Tripel that I know of which is a core beer is from the Emek Ha'ela Brewery in Srigim.  Jem's Beer Factory in Petach Tikva calls its 8.8 beer a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, but it's as close to a Tripel as you can get.   Well informed readers will correct me, please.     

What makes it a Tripel?  To answer that, a few words about Belgian beers are in order.  Four of them are named after multiplicative adverbs (single, double, triple, quadruple, etc.). They got these names when they were first being brewed by monks in the monastery, usually from the Trappist order. The Double beer simply was brewed with more malted grain than the Single (it didn't have to be exactly double), the Triple even more, and the Quadruple, wow!

The Single ale was usually drunk only by the monks themselves and was not marketed outside the walls of the monastery. Even today, Belgian Singles are rarely seen for sale, although they are probably similar to the Belgian Pale Ales we do know.

Neta and Jean Torgovitsky, owners and brewers
of the Sheeta Brewery in Arad (Northern Negev).

Double (or Dubbel) ales jump to dark color, with a malty sweetness and flavors of dark fruits and chocolate. Alcohol by volume can be 6.5 - 9%.

Triple (Tripel) ales jump back to a pale or golden color, with typical Belgian fruity esters and spice from the yeast. You guessed it: Banana and cloves. ABV reaches 7.5 - 10%.

Quadruples (Quadrupels) are back to very dark, strong and flavorful and malty, with flavors of dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar and more. ABV is 9 - 12%, and even higher.

Interwoven among these are other Belgian styles such as Pale Ale, Strong Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Dark Ale and Strong Dark Ale – so you can begin to understand the very varied and wide world of Belgian beer. And we haven't even included the wheat beers (Witbier), the sours (Lambic, Geuze, Flanders Red and Oud Bruin), and the Farmhouse Ales and Saisons. 

The Belgian Tripel ale style is known for
its fruity and spicy aromas and flavors, 
mid bitterness and high alcohol. 
But let's get back to Sheeta's new Belgian Tripel. I enjoyed it with my fellow IBAV Tasters Oded and Bat Sheva.

It poured out a rich amber color, true to style. The aroma was based on what we would call Belgian malt and yeast: Some dark bread, pepper spice and, according to Oded and Bat Sheva, cherry! The taste was mild bitter, with a definite touch of banana, toffee and malt.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with alcoholic warmth (ABV is 8%), and the aftertaste was dry and bitter with a touch of cherry.  Oded added that although the mouthfeel was alcoholic, it was "refined."

Final tally: Bravo to Sheeta brewers Jean and Neta Torgovitsky for giving us a fine example of a very famous and popular Belgian-style beer.  I suggest you get a bottle while they're still available.   

August 1, 2023

Israeli craft brewers embrace packaging: 4-, 5-, 8-, 9-, 12-packs

Craft brewers in Israel are giving more attention to marketing and packaging, I've noticed.  It's not uncommon to see Israeli crafts being sold in special die-cut cartons printed in full color.

A photographed a few which have come my way, though there are many more such examples now on the market.

From left: A four-pack from Oak & Ash; a five-pack from Alexander; an eight-pack from Alexander; a nine-pack from Six-Pack (Super Heroes); a 12-pack from Shevet.  

July 27, 2023

Shapiro introduces its 2023 version of Session IPA

IBAV Tasters Manny and Bat Sheva
join the old blogger for their first taste
of Shapiro's Session IPA for 2023.

Last week, the Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh launched its 2023 version of Session IPA at the child- and pet-friendly Silo Café, right here in Jerusalem.  Your old blogger was there, joined by IBAV Tasting Team members Bat Sheva and Manny, to give you our first-hand report.  

Amid the sprinklers and the wading pools which were there to refresh the guests on this steamy day, we quaffed down our draft Session IPA with complimentary bread and watermelon.  

This is the second summer in a row that Shapiro has brewed and marketed its Session IPA, whose low alcohol volume (4.3%) and light, refreshing taste make it a wonderful beer for the season.  

Tamar Shapiro, one of the partner/siblings who was at the launch, told me that this year's version is brewed with four(!) hop varieties: Idaho 7, Azacca, Simcoe and HBC 586.  (That last one is an experimental hop variety that hasn't even been named yet.)

The 2022 edition had Mosaic, Amarillo and Citra -- and you can read about that one here.

The 2023 version of Session IPA from the
Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh:
Refreshingly bitter with aromas and flavors of 
grapefruit, lemon and pine.

The yellow-colored beer has only a hint of haze.  Our beer from the tap had almost no head and was very mildly carbonated.  (When I drank a bottle of the beer later on, it was much more carbonated and had a large foamy head.)  The aroma was citrus hops, predominantly grapefruit, and pine.  The taste had a bite of refreshing bitterness, grapefruit rind and lemon zest.  The finish was bitter, dry and refreshing.  

The Tasters did not think the Session IPA was a "wow" factor beer, but we had no difficulty enjoying every drop on this scorcher of a Jerusalem summer day.                   


July 19, 2023

Oh Saizonna ➯ A dry-hopped Saison from Shevet Brewstillery

Oh Saizonna Dry-Hopped Saison
from Shevet Brewstillery: 
An earthy and flowery Belgian ale.

The latest Small Batch beer from the Shevet Brewstillery in Pardes Hanna is a dry-hopped Saison-style beer named Oh Saizonna.  It is brewed with wheat malt and spelt, and the alcohol by volume is 6.2%.

[Read about two earlier Small Batch beers from Shevet, West Coast Cruising and Groovy Doovy, here.]

Israeli brewers do  not often make Saison, yet it has a rich history and many admirers.  The name in French means "season," harking back to its origins in southern Belgium and northern France, when it was traditionally brewed during the winter months (the "season") for drinking in the summer.    

Saison is also known as Farmhouse Ale and is a close cousin of Bière de Garde, which shares a similar history and taste profile. The ingredients often differed, being taken from whatever was available in the farmhouse.  

Saison or Farmhouse Ales were
traditionally brewed with
whichever grains and ingredients 
happened to be in the farmhouse.
I drank my Oh Saizonna with fellow IBAV Tasters Oded and Bat Sheva.

It pours out a dark gold color with a thin head.  We got earthy and flowery aromas, with Bat Sheva also detecting a sweet scent.  We concurred that the taste was very mildly bitter, with the typical Saison herbal, grassy and black pepper flavors.  Oded and I also tasted pine resin at the end, while Bat Sheva said it reminded her of a "clean forest."  The finish was dry and bitter.  

This is an excellent and complex Saison-style beer, with the dry-hopping adding even more aromatics and flavor.