March 17, 2019

Gilbert & Sullivan & Sachs

I first met Louis Sachs when I went to hear my wife's choir perform in a Gilbert & Sullivan sing-along in Jerusalem.  The operetta was Trial by Jury, to be exact, and Louis was the organizer, narrator and conductor.  His stage presence was a little wacky, a little witty.  There was no doubting his love for the D'oyly Carte duo.

Louis Sachs greeted the old blogger
with a trio of beautiful beverages.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
But the thing that most impressed me was the hot and spiced apple wine being served to the guests as they arrived.  The label on the bottle said, "Hinden-Sachs Brauerei: Hand crafted in Jerusalem's German Colony."  Despite the Teutonic-sounding name and location, there is nothing remotely German about Sachs or his wife Simi Hinden, and the German Colony, which was founded by German settlers in the 1870s and whose descendants were deported by the British during World War II, retains only its name.

No, it was the contents of the bottle that had me from the first sip.  Like a warm, liquid apple pie -- full of sweet and juicy real apple goodness, spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and allspice.  The taste was akin to apple liqueur, and alcoholic strength was 10%.   
Take me to your maker, I said to the glass -- and to a few other people who could really give me an answer.  When Louis was pointed out to me, I went and introduced myself.  He told me he makes not only apple wine and cider, but also brews beer.  I guess I would have guessed.

The Hinden-Sachs brewer in a
rather contemplative pose.

(Photo: Mike Horton) 
After we enjoyed the sing-along, he invited me to visit him and Simi, to hear his story and taste his beverages.  And so I did.

Louis started brewing in Chicago at age 16, when his father gave him a home-brewing kit for his birthday.  While he was a student at Simpson College in Iowa, Louis started making apple cider.  A nearby apple orchard owner would give apples to anyone who was making apple cider -- if they gave him a share of the finished product.

When Louis came to Israel five years ago, he continued to refine his brewing and fermentation skills.  Today, he uses Champagne yeast in his apple cider, which gives it a sparkling, dry taste.  It's as pale as Champagne as well, with the apples giving up most of their tastes and sugars.  Alcoholic strength is 7%.

The Hinden-Sachs Brauerei IPA:
"Hand-crafted in Jerusalem's
German Colony."
Louis gives special attention to his IPA.  "I love hops," he admits.  "I've never had a beer too hoppy for me."

As with many IPA brewers, Louis uses a huge amount of hops to make his IPAs, and he's found an interesting way to keep his costs down.  "Every year there seems to be a new 'hot' variety of hops that all home-brewers are using.  However, the suppliers always have a quantity of 'last year's' hops, and they are willing to sell me these at a discount."  For the IPA that I tasted, Louis uses Galaxy, Centennial and Huell Melon hops, known for adding citrus and fruity flavors and aromas.

Louis's IPA is a mid-amber color with mild carbonation.  The aroma brings some hop esters, but also a surprising bready malt.  The taste is very bitter -- attesting to the quantity of hops that Louis uses.  Apple and citrus are the flavors we detected -- leaving my drinking partner Moshe to remark that this IPA shared some characteristics with the dry cider.  We both felt that the bitterness was well balanced by the malt.  Alcohol by volume is 7%.

A contemporary caricature of
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Louis developed his other great passion -- Gilbert & Sullivan -- also as a teenager.  He sang opera and operetta in high school in Des Moines, Iowa, and later worked as a music teacher in Chicago.  "The city had two G&S companies," Louis says, "so there were always shows for me to attend."

In Jerusalem, he founded the sing-along group, which gives concerts once a year.  "Anyone can learn to sing Gilbert and Sullivan," Louis adds.  "The cast doesn't do more than one or two rehearsals, and we hand out the lyrics so the audience has no problem joining in.

"We've done Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, Patience, and now Trial by Jury -- and next year we plan to do The Mikado."

If Louis welcomes the audience once again with his apple wine and beer (and, of course, if my wife's choir is on stage), I may just show up.                                 


  1. Wow! Sounds great in both meanings of the word "sounds."

  2. Classic epic Louis!


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