January 26, 2016

Gift-bearing visitor from Chicago

One of the nicest results of this web log is getting to know fellow beer enthusiasts from all over the world.  Sometimes I even meet them.  Sometimes they even bring me gifts.

Nick Hawkins (right) and the old blogger
with Chicago beer and Jerusalem pizza.
So it was that several weeks ago, I met a faithful reader who was visiting Jerusalem and was kind enough to attend my lecture and bring me beer.  Ah, it's good to be famous.

Nick Hawkins came all the way from Chicago to enjoy a vacation in Israel and drink some of our craft beers.  In fact, he's been doing the same thing all over the world.

"That's what I do," says Nick.  I travel around the world to drink local beers: Myanmar, China, Norway, Poland, even Kuwait.  You name it."

Nick feels a little guilty that it's been 20 years since he was last in Israel.  As someone who thinks deeply about his Jewishness, he is very interested in how Israel fits into the equation.

"Many American Jews try to separate Israel from their Judaism," he declares, "but I don't see how you can do that."

If you're wondering about the "Hawkins," it's because Nick's father is Irish and his mother is Jewish.  "I was given the freedom to go either way," he explains, "and I chose my Jewish side.  Still, if you're Irish and Jewish, you can't help but love beer."

What a gift to shlepp all the way from Chicago:
Six beautiful craft beers.
At any rate, this is a blog about beer, not religion.  So when I met Nick at the new branch of the Bardak pub near the Machane Yehuda market (4 Beit Yaakov Street), he told me how impressed he was with Israeli craft beers.

"Even though I search out good beer all around the world, I'm not a beer geek," Nick told me.  "I don't use the jargon: 'flavor notes,' 'hoppy to the nose,' 'mouthfeel' -- none of that.  Beer for me is 'good' or 'bad,' and most of the Israeli crafts have been good."

Oh yes, what about the gift-bearing visitor?  Nick had carried six different beers from craft breweries in Chicago, so that he could give them to me.  Certainly an unexpected and delightful gift.

Troublesome (wheat beer brewed with coriander) from Off Color Brewing
Daisy Cutter Pale Ale from Half Acre Beer Company
Gringolandia Magnifica Wheat from 5 Rabbit Brewery
Matilda (Belgian style pale ale) from Goose Island Beer Company
Eugene Porter from Revolution Brewing
Fist City Chicago Pale Ale from Revolution Brewing

I've had some already, but I'm not drinking them all at once.  I'm making them last.

It was a rare pleasure to meet and chat with Nick.  I never met anyone whose hobby is to visit foreign countries and drink their beers!  I checked the list of "50 most popular hobbies" and it's not there, but it should be.  Long may Nick continue his travels -- but I hope he doesn't wait another 20 years before coming to Israel again!          


  1. What fun. No doubt you'd like a vacation like that...

  2. Tough life but someone has to do it


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