August 28, 2019

500 Bottles of Israeli Beers on the Wall

A couple of years ago, I wrote about Yitzhak Berman, a collector of beer bottles whose home in Bet El is lined with shelves upon shelves holding empty beer bottles -- over 1,500 to be more specific.  Yitzhak recently informed me that he has reached his 500th bottle of Israeli beer.  "Why don't you write about it," I asked.  And so he did.  Yitzhak's article follows.  By the way, I also learned that there is a special word for Yitzhak's hobby: labeorphilist.

(Read the earlier article here.) 

Part of Yitzhak Berman's collection of
over 500 Israeli beer bottles.
A workman came into my home in Bet El and looked at my collection of beer bottles.  I asked him: which beer do you drink?  His reply: Goldstar.  So I asked him which Goldstar?  He looked at me confused.

The Israeli public is not aware of the massive variety of Israeli beers that exist, including six different Goldstar beers.  I am into beer bottle collecting, not beer tasting.

How many can you identify?
More Israeli beer bottles in
Yitzhak Berman's collection. 
Israeli beers come from several sources:

🔴 Large breweries that produce their own beers or brew beer for others on order.

🔴 Small breweries that have proliferated throughout the country over the last
decade or two.

🔴 Home breweries that come and go.

Of the 502 Israeli beer bottles that I have today, many are no longer made.  Also, I still do not have all the Israeli beers that were made or are in stores.  For example, I am looking for a bottle of Alef-Alef which was produced in the 1950s.  If you know where I can find a bottle of Alef-Alef beer, please let me know.
Beer 48: Beer of the Brave.
Honoring Israel's
War of Independence. 

Many of the beers I have tell an interesting story. Let's look at one.

Beer 48 tells a story of the War of Independence.  On the label is written (my free translation):

When the British mandate came to an end, the soldier Mike Flanagan, an Irishman who loved beer, was told to pack his equipment in order to go home. Flanagan and his tank commander, the Scot Harry McDonald, stole two British Cromwell tanks and drove them to a Haganah military base. This was the beginning of the Israeli army armored corps. Flanagan stayed on in Israel and now his grandchildren produce Beer 48 in his honor. 

A picture of a tank is shown on the bottle with the slogan: Beer of the Brave.

The first Tel Aviv streets on
Achuzat Bayit beer labels:
Rothschild, Shenkin, Allenby, Bialik, Dizengoff. 
There is a series of beers about 
Tel Aviv from the defunct brewery Achuzat Bayit.  The labels show us pictures of Tel Aviv in its earliest days.  We can see the following Tel Aviv streets (left to right): Rothschild, Shenkin, Allenby, Bialik and Dizengoff.

Naming streets after the "founding fathers" is a common phenomenon in Israel.  But, how about naming a beer after one of the early settlers? Samuel's Highland beer is named after Samuel Pineles.  He was a Zionist activist and helped organize the immigration of Jews to the towns of Rosh Pina and Zichron Yaacov.  The city of Givat Shmuel in central Israel was named in his honor.

The Alexander Brewery in Emek Hefer recreated the beer and the label of Max Brau Pilsner from the beer brewed by the Rosenberg Brothers in Akko in the year 1927.

Left: Samuel's Highland beer,
named after Zionist pioneer,
Samuel Pineles.
Right: A recreation of the
1927 Max Brau Pilsner
label and beer from
the Alexander Brewery. 
Football (soccer) and basketball are the favorite sports in Israel, so we expect this to be reflected in our beers. I found three beers that are directly tied to sports.

🔴 The Mosco Brewery on Moshav Zanoach came out with a beer called Gol.

🔴 Herzl Brewery in Jerusalem brought back the memory of the first and last time Israel was in the Mondial with a beer appropriately named Mexico 1970.

🔴 Jem's Brewery in Petach Tikva came out with a very limited edition of a beer called MTA in honor of the Macabbi Tel Aviv basketball team.

The Golan has been active in beer production. I have 22 beers from the Golan heights mainly from the Golan Brewery (Bazelet) in Katzrin, but there is also Fass Beer from Kibbutz Geshur.  Fass Beer changed their labels over time.  (This phenomenon is quite prevalent and can be confusing to labeorphilists.)  Other examples of breweries which have changed their labels are: Negev, Galil and the Lone Tree Brewery in Gush Etzion. . 
Beer labels honoring Israeli soccer (from left):
Gol Beer from Mosco, Mexico 70 from Herzl,
MTA from Jem's.

I also collect theme series bottles where the label is different 
but the beer content is the same.  For example:

Negev Brewery's series on Eurovision 2019. 

Herzl Brewery's Shenkar series where students of the Shenkar College of Design designed the labels on the bottles

Bazelet's dedication to Israel's 70th anniversary with beer bottles having the names Happiness, Friendship, Love, Luck, and Peace on them.

I wish all of you the above blessings for the New Year, and may we never have to face cenosillicaphobia -- the fear of an empty glass!

1 comment:

  1. Juha Väänänen8/29/2019

    Wow! This should count as a national treasure.


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