June 27, 2018

The first Isra-Brew competition winners

No automatic alt text available.The first Isra-Brew competition was held, I can't say recently, but not so long ago, under the auspices of the Israel Home-Brewers Association.  

The moving spirit behind Isra-Brew is Beersheva's own Gilad Ne-Eman, active in home-brewing circles (Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva), retail sales (Brew Shop), beer festivals (the Beer7 Fest), and brewing (Tog Brewery).

Gilad told me that Isra-Brew is the first home-brewing competition in Israel that is run by the home-brewers themselves and not by one of the big marketers or producers.  "We also are the only one which is supervised by the Beer Judge Certification Program in the U.S.," he added.  "In total, 106 beers were submitted to compete in nine different categories.  All prizes were donated by breweries and businesses in Israel and abroad."

Here then is the list of the Isra-Brew winners, appearing for the first time in English:

Best in Show
Aleksei Radionov -- Oatmeal Stout

Spice, Herb and Vegetable Beers
First:  Eran Shtroul -- Ha-Barnash Pumpkin Ale
Second:  Dimitry Khrashchev, Michael Raveh and Aleksey Bingur -- New Year 2018
Third:  HaTeirutz Brewery -- Nachala

Belgian Ales
First:  Gidon Litmanovich -- Belgian Dubbel
Second:  Michael Van Straiten -- Doochifat (Hoopoe Bird)
Third:  Naveh Lazar -- Crasenti's Tripel
Honorable Mention: Asaf Murkes -- The Belgian

First:  Aleksei Radionov -- The Asking Out
Second:  Moshe Glantz (Glantz Brewery) -- Sweet Chives
Third:  Arik Fonomariov -- Irish Eyes

Dark and Brown Ales
First:  Zvi Sharon -- The Brown Glacier
Second:  Lior Ashbal -- Pecan Porter 512
Third:  Idan Shmueli and Ofek Aloni -- Olga Porter
Pale Ales and IPAs
First:  Gil Sonnenreich -- Sonnenbrau 1st Beer
Second: Naveh Lazar -- Shani Amber Ale
Third:  Maxim Shain -- Maxim
Fourth: Ofer Zilber -- Zilbeereut

Sour Beers
First:  Yisrael Atlow -- Special Passion Fruit Mint
Second: Zvi Sharon -- Sour Belgian Forest
Third:  Lior Digabli -- Baron's Raspberry Berliner Weiss

Wheat Beer
First:  Idan Shmueli and Nehorai Ben-Zvi -- Olga Kolsch
Second: Moshe Glantz -- American Wheat
Third:  Shimon Bitton and Gabi Hadad -- Doctor H

Classic European Beers
First:  Murat Nepesov -- Bohemian Forest
Second: Vladislav Sakorik -- Barley Wine

Specialty Beers
First:  Gilad Ne-Eman -- The Night Gate Keeper in the Barrel
Second: Murat Nepesov  -- Gotlandsdricka

Though I was unable to attend the award ceremony, I was fortunate enough to establish contact with Aleksei Radionov, winner of the Best in Show for his Oatmeal Stout, which he calls, "The Asking Out."

Aleksei (center) and Yulia Radionov present
the old blogger with a closely guarded bottle
of the Best in Show Oatmeal Stout.

(Photo: Frank Perlmutter)
"I wanted to avoid the bitterness shared by most stouts," Aleksei told me, "so I used a process called 'cold steeping.'  The roasted malt isn't mixed with hot water -- the mashing -- but is steeped overnight in lukewarm water.  This gets all the taste without extracting the tannins, which cause bitterness.  Later, I add oatmeal, which gives a smoothness and complexity to the final beer.  I achieve the sweetness and creaminess without adding lactose (milk sugar)."

Well, whatever the method, I can report that it works well.  Aleksei's Oatmeal Stout exhibits no bitterness, either from the hops or the malt.  The color is a very dark brown, partly cloudy, with very little carbonation.  The body was noticeably thin.  The roasted chocolate and malt in the aroma was unmistakable.  The taste had more chocolate, actually a chocolate liqueur, and some coffee with a vanilla cream background.  No trace of hops.  Mouthfeel is very creamy, with a semi-sweet chocolate finish.  There is no alcoholic warmth, which is no surprise since the alcohol by volume is a moderate 5.5%.

This is a delicious beer which can be enjoyed by itself, or paired with sharp cheese, baked beans, dried fruits, chocolate desserts or any containing cinnamon, or even a soft pretzel and mustard.

Normally, this is where I tell my readers that they will not be able to drink this prize-winning beer because it's a home-brew and not in stores.  Well, not this time!  The Isra-Brew prize for the Best in Show is a brewing in commercial quantities by the Beer Bazaar Brewery (Mivshelet Ha'aretz) in Kiryat Gat.  So sometime in September, Aleksei's Oatmeal Stout will be available in beer specialty stores and selected liquor stores around the country.  It's worth looking for.             


  1. Omer Basha7/04/2018

    I'd like to make the following points:

    1. The moving spirit behind Isra-Brew was not just Gilad Ne-Eman but all of the Homebrewers of Israel facebook group.

    2. The Beer Judge Certification Program is a world-wide organization, not just a United States one.

    3. This is not the only competition that was sanctioned by the BJCP. The first one was actually Mevashlim (by the Homebrewers of Beersheva), as well as the Birateinu competition and B'tsisa. The only competition that is not sanctioned at the moment is the Samuel Adams LongShot competition.

    4. The first competition that was not sanctioned by one of the big marketers was the Mevashlim competition.

    Omer Basha
    Basha-Flom Brewery


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