May 30, 2019

Winners of the 2019 B'tsisa Home-Brew Competition

This season's second home-brewing competition was the prestigious Alexander B'tsisa (Hebrew for "In Fermentation").  It was organized by the Beer & Beyond beer super-store in Tel Aviv, and sponsored by the Alexander Brewery.  the award ceremony was held at the Alexander Beer Garden in Modi'in. 

Winners were chosen in six different categories, plus the Best in Show.  One interesting note: In the Dark Lager category, no entry received enough points to qualify for the first prize. 

So without further ado, here is the list of winners, I believe for the first time in English: 

Elad Talby receives his
Best-in-Show Award
from Shachar Hertz (left),
owner of Beer & Beyond,
and Ori Sagi, owner of
the Alexander Brewery.
Best in Show
Elad Talby -- New England IPA

Dark Lager
First:  None
Second:  Emmanuel Peled
Third:  Neveh Lazer

German Wheat
First:  Omer Laser
Second:  Asaf Murkes 
Third:  Elchanan Hopper Hornman 

Belgian Pale Ale
First:  Jason Barnett
Second:  Ori Schweid
Third:  Neveh Lazar
Honorable Mention: Elad Lander and Elchanan Hopper Hornman 

British Dark Ale
First:  Steven and Boaz Blumo
Second: Noam Shalev
Third:  Emmanuel Peled 
New England IPA
First:  Elad Talby
Second:  Lior Digabli
Third:  Constantine Katkov

Spiced Beer
First:  Lior Digabli
Second: Eran Shtrul
Third: Omer Leon
Honorable Mention: Uri Schweid and Constantine Katkov 

Elad Talby's elegantly
designed bottle label for
his home-brand,"Talbeer."

I was able to track down 32-year-old Elad Talby and get a bottle of his Best-in-Show New England IPA.  Elad is no stranger to the B'tsisa, having won first prize in the Session IPA category two years ago. [You can read about that here.] 

I admit that I have never tasted a New England IPA that conforms to the style descriptions: hazy, juicy, sweet and creamy; no hop bitterness; fruity and floral flavors.
Elad's NEIPA comes the closest.  For example, it is a very cloudy, brownish orange color, with sweet aromas of fruit -- grapefruit, mango and banana.  The taste brings more fruit and yeast, but is very bitter, not like the NEIPAs I read about.  In fact, this sweet smell vs bitter taste is a pleasant slap in the face.  The body is full; actually mouth coating.  The finish is dry.  

It may not be how I imagine NEIPAs, but Elad's Best-in-Show is the most enjoyable "extreme" beer I have tasted this year.  

Congratulations to Elad for this impressive achievement.  I'm sure this isn't the last time we'll hear his name.   


  1. So these are all small businesses or hobbies?

    1. Most just home-brew as a (serious) hobby, but there are a few names I recognize who are also selling their beers.


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