August 9, 2017

The happy return of the Mateh Yehuda Beer Festival (Mini-Israel)

I remember fondly the Mateh Yehuda beer festivals, held in large grassy areas with lots of room to walk around, drink beer, sit down, drink beer, buy food with beer, and listen to fine music while drinking beer.  Beautiful atmosphere for a summer night.  So I was very saddened when they stopped holding them three or four years ago, and was very happy when they announced a few months ago that the festival is coming back.

With a passel of friends at the Mateh Yehuda Beer Festival 2017.
So it was that few weeks ago I went to the renewed Mateh Yehuda Beer Festival with my wife and a passel of friends.  It was held at the Mini-Israel Park near Latrun, where detailed models of famous Israeli buildings and sites are on permanent outdoor display.

Sure enough, the festival was spread out over a lovely grassy area with chairs and tables (although maybe not enough), interesting food stands, and wonderful live music.  There weren't many brewers but it was a pleasure for me to walk around and speak with all of them and taste their beers.  As usual, I was on the lookout for new beers, or at least beers which were new for me.

Two of the brewers I had never met before:


Pepo (left) and Moti Bohadana introduce
their beer to the old blogger.
Where have I been?

(Photo: Mike Horton)
Moti Bohadana has been brewing Pepo Beer on his Moshav Tslafon (near Beit Shemesh) since 2009.
 It's named after Moti's father, who was also at the beer stand.  The beer is well branded and marketed, but it is sold only on the moshav and at local festivals such as this, and not available elsewhere.  There is a taproom and restaurant on the moshav where the beer is served to groups during the week and to the wider public on Friday.  They make nine different beers in batches of 250 liters.

Pepo has been flying underneath my radar simply because it is not seen at the regular commercial outlets and I haven't noticed it at festivals.  The beers seem interesting and varied, and I would like to get to know them better.  But that's for another time.

Shiksa Wheat and Coriander Pale Ale:
With Cheli (center) and Nir Lavi
of the Beero Brewery.

(Photo: Mike Horton)

The new kid on the block was Beero, brewed by husband-and-wife team Nir and Cheli Lavi of Kibbutz Beit Nir, at the Mosco Brewery.  Before venturing out into the commercial world, they had been home-brewing for three years.

Nir and Cheli were pouring their two beers: One was called Shiksa(!) Wheat, a quite typical German weissbier, and the other was Coriander Pale Ale, brewed with coriander seed.  This beer is a hazy, light amber color with little carbonation, so almost no head.  The aroma is grassy and floral, and the taste is very bitter with an undercurrent of Indian spice.  Alcohol by volume is 6.5%.  I found this to be a well constructed beer, not strong on taste, but very refreshing.

I wish Nir and Cheli the best of luck.  They certainly have a lot of enthusiasm for their brewing.      

You can tell the Dictator by his hat:
Yotam Baras and the old blogger
toast the new IPA.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
The other brewers at the festival were Srigim (Ronen and Emek Ha'ela), Buster's, Shapiro, HaShachar, Mosco, and The Dictator.

From The Dictator's Yotam Baras I got their new IPA, and from Mosco's Amir Lev, I was given bottles of their new Smoked Beer and Pilsner.  These will all be reviewed as soon as possible.

My thanks to Omer Harpaz of the Orna Ben-Chaim PR agency for accommodating our visit to the Mateh Yehuda Beer Festival.  Its return is long overdue and I'm happy that it's come back with all the good points that I remember.          

1 comment:

Thanks for your comment. L'chayim!