Though they no longer have a brewery to call their own, nor even a brew pub, the Bar Ilan brothers (Dagan and Rotem) are still brewing great beer under the HaDubim ("The Bears") label. They use the facilities of the Beer Bazaar Brewery (Mivshelet Ha'aretz) in Kiryat Gat.
We had a chance to taste two of their recent beers and it was a pleasure all the way down.
Be that as it may, Typhoon is full of fruity hop aromas and flavors. The color is very pale and hazy, with fragrances of grapefruit, pineapple, citrus and tropical fruits. The taste, too, has all of those with well-rounded bitterness.
The body is light and creamy, rich in taste and quite delicious. One swallow encourages the next, and at a moderate 4.9% alcohol, you can enjoy more than one.
I think Typhoon, because it's a hoppy but not ultra-bitter beer, would go very well with pizza and Mexican food, many grain dishes, tangy cheeses, and salty snacks like popcorn, potato chips and pretzels. Beers which are very bitter will aggravate the flavors of spice and salt.
Typhoon recently came in first place in the Pale Ale category of the Golden Beer competition for beers sold in Israel.
The second beer from HaDubim is called HaMaka HaRishona, which in Hebrew means "The First Blow" or "The First Strike." It's named for the first beer that Dagan and Rotem made when they started home-brewing many years ago. They tell me that the recipe changed quite a bit, but it's basically the same style of beer.
It's a "lightly smoked" amber ale, at 4.7% alcohol. In the glass, it's a mid-amber color. The aromas from the huge foam head are malt and spice, with some smoke and fruit. With the taste, you get pepper, fruit and grain, and a very slight smoke -- although my drinking partner Moshe thought the end was "pure barbecue sauce." The beer has a light body, which is not misplaced, and the finish is worth waiting for: Smooth, tart, with a little smoke and herbal.
Moshe thought this is a beer for steak or cheese, which I wouldn't know. Basically I don't think smoked beers go well with smoked food, but rather with dishes which would taste good if they were smoked. Maka Rishona, for example. would pair excellently with ratatouille or grilled vegetables such as asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes.
It gets a little boring with HaDubim: winner after winner after winner. While I'm waiting for their new beers, I'm enjoying their old. Can't go wrong.