June 24, 2019

Isra-Brew Competition 2019 winners

The old blogger helps Omer Basha (left) and
Maxim Shain hold their multiple awards at the
Isra-Brew Competition award ceremony.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
This year, the Isra-Brew home-brewing competition drew 101 entries, and awards were given in nine categories, plus Best-in-Show and Champion Brewer.  The organizer was Dvir Flom of the Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva.  The award ceremony was held at the Dancing Camel brewery and restaurant in Tel Aviv, with Dvir acting as the MC.

Nice doggie!
Making sure nobody touches the bottles of
beer until the award ceremony is over.

(Photo: Mike Horton)

The organizing committee was thoughtful enough to have brought to the ceremony all of the left-over bottles of beer that were entered into the competition -- and they were cold!  After the ceremony, all of the participants were able to help themselves to whichever beers were available.  So we not only met the winners, but in many cases, drank them.  

Here is the official list of winners, with the "names" and styles of the beers (where available).  Some categories received less than three prizes; some received honorable mentions.

Dvir Flom MC's the award ceremony
at the Isra-Brew home-brew competition
in Tel Aviv.

(Photo: Mike Horton)
Best in Show
Tony Fall -- American IPA

Champion Brewer (with all prizes taken into account)
Tony Fall

Belgian Beers
First:  Lior Eshbal -- Mixed Fermentation Farmhouse Ale
Second:  Moshe Glantz -- Blond Ale
Third:  Ben-Or Adani -- B.O.B. Belgian Dubbel

Porters and Stouts
First:  Gilad Ne-Eman -- Cocoa My Mind, Imperial Stout
Second:  Murat Nepesov -- Baby Ris, Sweet Stout
Third:  Maxim Shain-- Brown Ale
First:  Tony Fall -- Mad Dog IPA
Second: Danny Perets (Karmazina) -- American IPA

Wheat Beer
First:  Assaf Murkes -- Mit Hefe

First:  Omer Basha (with Dvir Flom) -- La Becon 2019, Rauchbier
Second: Tony Fall -- Black Ruby, Schwarzbier
Third: Raviv Soha -- Czech Golden Lager
Honorable Mention: Maxim Shain, Rauchbier

Specialty Beers
First:  Omer Basha (with Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva) -- Solera, Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer
Second: Maxin Shain  -- Classic Style Smoked Beer
Third: Ilan Ancel -- Raspberry Lager, Fruit Beer

Pale and Amber Ales
First:  Danny Perets (Karmazina) -- American Pale Ale

Strong Experimental English Beer
First:  Oren Bunimovich (with Yaron Shpund) -- Crom Cruach, English Strong Ale
Second: Eyal Grossman -- Coockie Porter, Experimental Beer

First:  Assi Lawi -- Shit Pit, Spice, Herb or Vegetable Mead
Second: Ohad Gertel -- Berry Mead
Third: Shmuel Naky -- Bluberr, Fruit and Spice Mead

Readers of my blog will recognize the names of some of the winners, who have been collecting prizes for several years now.  Other names are newcomers.

Tony Fall receives one of his two awards
at the BeerYamina home-brew competition
earlier this year.

(Photo: Tal Alfandary) 
One of these took the Best-in-Show and Champion Brewer prizes, Tony Fall.  Earlier, Tony won prizes in the Mivshalim competition in Beersheva, the HaDubim Clone contest, and the first-ever BeerYamina home-brew competition. (Read about that here.)

Tony wasn't able to be at the award ceremony, but I did get a chance to interview him on the phone.  Alas, his Best-in-Show American IPA was all gone, so no special tasting for the old blogger.  I'll certainly try to be around the next time Tony enters one of his home-brews in a competition.

Tony is 52 and from Blackpool, England.  He came to Israel as a volunteer on a kibbutz in 1987, where he met an Israeli girl.  Tony stayed with her and with Israel.  They live in Jerusalem and have two grown sons.

Although Tony managed pubs and restaurants in England for many years, he only started home-brewing here in Israel around two years ago.

Tony Fall (right) enjoys the limelight
at the BeerYamina award ceremony
with his wife and two sons.

(Photo: Tal Alfandary)
"My wife was against it because of the smell," he admits, "so I found a way to hide it from her.  I would brew when she wasn't home, then aerated the kitchen and used a deodorizing spray.  One day I gave her the beer, and she liked it so much she agreed that I could continue brewing."

He started entering competitions after receiving a lot of positive feedback from his early brews.  Tony today brews on his balcony using electric heating and the all-grain system.

"I have a good day job in hi-tech," he says, "so I'm not rushing to become a professional brewer.  But I think all of us dream about having our own brewery one day.  Who knows?"  

Tony's success across several competitions has very rapidly elevated him to one of the top home-brewers in Israel.  As I've written before, home-brewing provides the broad base of a country's craft beer culture, and it's built on the skill and inspiration of folks like Tony Fall.          


  1. Fantastic, wish I could taste some.

  2. Juha Väänänen7/01/2019

    Looks like you got some great home brewers there. Ale dominant competitions with only a hand full of lagers seem to be a global phenomena in homebrewing competitions, same here (Finland). Personally I hold Pils as the ultimate challenge in home- and microbrewing and I haven't yet encountered a single truly a great Pils in any arena of homebrewing competitions. Then again, a good Pils does require multiple infusions when mashing, so equipment most homebrewers and microbreweries have might set some technical limitations when it comes to brewing great Pils/Export/Bock... Anyway, too bad I missed the competition. Must time my next trip to Israel to match a beer event. Mazel tov to all winners!

    1. Thanks, Juha. Certainly most home-brewers are limited by their equipment, but there are quite a few lagers entered in the competitions. You can see those in the categories which I mention on my blog.
      If I remember, I will alert you about upcoming home-brew competitions so you can plan your trips accordingly. L'chayim!


Thanks for your comment. L'chayim!