|The Winter Beer Tasting Session at the Beerateinu |
store and bar in Jerusalem.
(Photo: Mike Horton)
So it was that I happily signed up for the second tasting session of winter beers at Beerateinu, the Jerusalem Beer Center (3 Yanai Street). I wasn't able to attend the first session a week earlier because it was fully booked. Owners Leon Shvartz and Shmuel Naky graciously scheduled a second session.
Inside the cozy retail store, bar and brewing education center, around a dozen people came together to taste and hear about winter beers. There were also platters of cut vegetables and cheeses. Leon and Shmuel gave running commentary to these winter warmers as we sipped and snacked.
1) Beresheet from the Negev Brewery, Israel. A 4.7% alcohol by volume cream ale, not necessarily considered a winter beer, but . . . okay, it was on the menu. Citrus fruits dominate this beer's aroma and flavor profile, It was first brewed only for guests at the Beresheet Hotel in the Negev Desert, but is now available to all. (Read about its first mention here.)
2) Kaguo, a strong (9%) ale brewed in De Graal, Belgium, for the Japanese market. Highly spiced with yuzo (Japanese citrus) and sansho pepper, brewed with added sugar. Citrus, malts and hop flavor carry this beer to a warming finish.
3) Espresso Stout from Hitachino Nest Brewery in Japan. A coffee-flavored imperial stout, 7% ABV, made with coffee beans.
4) Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout from the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon. Brewing with rolled oats gives body and smoothness to this 5.7% ABV American stout beer. Lots of coffee and bitter chocolate flavors.
6) Imperial Stout from Alexander Brewery, Israel. Brand new for this season. A black stout on steroids, 10.4% ABV, with flavors of roasted caramel, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, molasses and roasted malt. (Recently reviewed here.)
7) Lupulus Hibernatus, a Belgian strong ale from the Lupulus Brewery in the Ardennes region of Belgium. Brewed with a little bit of added cinnamon, 8.5% ABV, coffee is the dominant flavor here.
8) Lupulus Organicus, a pale ale very similar to the Hibernatus, but made only with organic hops and malt. Also 8.5% alcohol.
9) Lupulus Brown, a good example of the English brown ale style, warming and toasty, with nice citrus notes from the added orange peel. 8.5% ABV.
10) Chouffe N'ice Winter Beer from the Achouffe Brewery in the Ardennes region of Belgium. A strong (10% ABV), brown beer brewed for the cold months, for sipping on a snowy night in northern Europe. Spiced with thyme and Curacao orange liqueur.
11) Leon and Shmuel then served us from another bottle of Chouffe N'ice, asking us if we could taste any difference from the previous. It was a trick question. People said, "It's sweeter," "It's stronger," "Less alcoholic."
In fact, it was the same beer, only from a bottle that had expired over two years ago. "It shows that these government regulations concerning beer are not very useful," Leon told us. "These stronger beers can age very well."
12) St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from the St. Bernard Brewery in Watou, Belgium. A classic quadruple-style Belgian abbey ale, consistently considered as one of the finest beers in the world. Has a strong taste of warming alcohol (10% ABV), with sweet and complex flavors such as dried fruits and molasses.
So, thank you Shmuel and Leon for a very enjoyable and warm evening, introducing us to the right beer to have while the Jerusalem winter howls and chills our bones.