June 26, 2017

Shapiro's new "pop-up pub"

The accessible entrance to
the Shapira BaSira pub
in Jerusalem. 
The four Shapiro brothers -- Itzik, Daniel, Zvi and Avi -- and sister Tamar, have opened a pub in Jerusalem to showcase their beers.  It's called Shapira BaSira ("Shapiro in the Boat"), a play on words since it's at 1 Ben-Sira Street.  It's also a pup-up pub, meaning it's temporary, popping up only for the summer's beer-drinking months.  Around the time of the Jewish fall holidays (September-October), it will go into hibernation, being replaced by a coffee shop.  Will it pop up again next summer?  We can only hope.  

Shapira BaSira is open every day (except Friday night and Saturday during the day --  the Jewish Sabbath) from 4:00 p.m.  Until 9:00 p.m. there are Happy Hour rules, with the second beer being free.

All of the Shapiro beers are available on tap: Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Wheat, Lager, Jack's Winter Ale and the just issued 2017 IPA with Simcoe hops (more on this new beer in a future post).  A glass of 400 cc's (14 ounces) costs 27 shekels (29 for the IPA), and 200 cc's (7 ounces) cost 15 shekels (17 for the IPA).  A flight of five 200 cc glasses costs 70 shekels.

The Shapira BaSira pub bar.  To the right is
the restaurant room with tables and chairs.
Kosher food is also served; not much but good for a pub.  For example: Sour pickle (5 shekels), vegetable plate (12), bagel with za'atar dip (14), chicken sandwich (30), sausage (24), "Ashkenazi fries" -- potato pancakes (22).

Itzik Shapiro told me that during the day (before the pub opens) the room is being used for special events, such as a brewing workshop for tourists and guides, brewing demonstrations, and tastings for groups.  For the latter, you have to book ahead of time for a minimum of seven participants.  For a fee of 50 shekels, you get explanations of all Shapiro beers and six tastings of 100 cc's.  Call 02-561-2622.

This Friday (June 30) at about one o'clock, there will be a brewing demonstration at the pub by Itay Marom of the HaShachen ("The Neighbor") Brewery from Netanya.

Shapiro Beer in Casks

I paid a visit to the very comfortable and cozy pub shortly after it opened.  Not coincidently, Benny Kriger of Benny's Cask Ale Pub in Kfar Saba was there tapping open three casks of Shapiro beer: Pale Ale, Stout, and the new 2017 IPA.

Tasting Shapiro beer straight from Benny's casks:
(from left) Benny Kriger, Zvi Shapiro,
the old blogger, and Itzik Shapiro.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
After he tapped the casks and gave us a chance to taste the same beer 1) from a cask and 2) from a regular keg, Benny was kind enough to sit with me and explain what casking is all about.  The first thing I noticed was Israeli-born Benny's surprising Scottish accent, the result of his frequent trips to Glasgow when he was younger to cheer on the Celtic soccer team!

"I go to breweries," he began, "and I put the beer right from the fermenter into my casks.  The first thing you notice is that the beers from my casks are less carbonated.  This is because no COgas is added.

"Second, they are served a little warmer, usually 10-14 degrees centigrade (50-57 Fahrenheit) instead of the usual 4-6 degrees centigrade (39-43 Fahrenheit).

Benny Kriger taps open his casks at the
Shapira BaSira pub in Jerusalem.

(Photo: Mike Horton)

"What this does is increase the strength of the beer's flavors.  Now, in order for this to work well, the beer has to be good in the first place.  We tried casking Goldstar, for example, and it came out horrible."

We tasted the casked versions and the kegged versions of Shapiro's IPA, Pale Ale and Stout -- and I can definitely attest that the flavor profiles are much  more intense from the cask.  I can understand why beer enthusiasts travel from all over to Kfar Saba to drink at Benny's.

By now the casks in Shapira BaSira are empty, but the kegs are still full of wonderful Shapiro beer.  If you're in Jerusalem, stop in and have a good time -- while it's still the "pop-up season."

1 comment:

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