February 10, 2020

Two new beers → Shevet Small Batch IPA, BeerBazaar Cannabrew

Good people of Israel and around the world:  The flood of new Israeli beers has not subsided.  Gives me no rest.  Here are two more you've been waiting for.

Shevet Small Batch IPA

Bottles of Shevet Small Batch
IPA (India Pale Ale) and
ESP (Extra Special Bitter).
Right after coming out with their first "Small Batch" beer ‒ an ESB (Extra Special Bitter) ‒ the Shevet Brewstillery in Pardes Hanna has issued the second in the series ‒ an IPA (India Pale Ale).

Small Batch means that "only" 5,500 bottles of the ESP were produced, and 4,500 bottles of the IPA.  [Read my review of the ESB here.]

Starting off slowly on the Israeli craft beer scene, IPAs are now made by almost every major brewery in the country.  This style of beer, which includes a few sub-styles, has been the most popular craft beer in the world.  It is marked by strong hop aromas and flavors (which can be flowery, citrusy, tropical fruity, piney, or any combination in between), higher alcohol content, and moderate to heavy bitterness.

The hops used in the Shevet Small Batch IPA are Amarillo, Nelson and Centennial ‒ leading us to expect notes of citrus and flowers and pine, coming at us all at once.  Alcohol by volume is 6.5%.

The Shevet Small Batch IPA is a slightly hazy, light amber color with very little carbonation.  Sitting with my drinking partner Daniel, we inhaled whiffs of pine needles, bready malt, mango and orange peel.  The taste is quite bitter (the label says 34 IBUs  International Bitterness Units), with recognizable flavors of bread, grass and flowers.  (Even if you've never tasted grass and flowers, this is how you would imagine they taste.)  Daniel also noticed a taste of melon.

We both agreed that this is an IPA suitable for Israeli tastes, more like an English IPA than the more aggressive American style.

BeerBazaar Cannabrew

The BeerBazaar Brewery's
Cannabrew beer, infused
with cannabis terpenes.
This is the beer that has been causing major ripples and rumors among the Israeli craft crowd.  What can we expect from this first Israeli beer infused with cannabis isolates?  You're not going to get high, that's for sure, but the particular "terpene elements" in this beer are said to help you feel more energy and a heightened ability to focus.

At any rate, before you read my tasting review, please take a moment to re-read my background article on Cannabrew here.  Since this beer is not yet on sale at the BeerBazaar stores nor on the shopping website (www.beerbazaar.co.il), my review is probably the first you'll be reading.

Cannabrew is built on a pale ale base (5.1% alcohol), though its hazy, dark amber color is not exactly "pale."  Beginning with the aroma, you get very pleasant floral notes, grapefruit peel and a general fruitiness ‒ but no discernible cannabis.  That comes when you taste it: Noticeable flavors of green plants and citrus are there, especially in the retronasal olfaction, which is a fancy way of saying how we smell and taste something while breathing out.  Behind these flavors is a bitter background which might be from the hops or the cannabis, which, after all, are genetic cousins in the Cannabaceae family.     

Did I get the aroma and taste of the marijuana plant?  I don't think I did, but my drinking partner Daniel positively identified the taste as cannabis.  The vegetal flavor that I did get blended in very nicely with the beer.

The Cannabrew label peels off to reveal
information about the ingredients and
production process of this beer.
Did I feel any increase in energy and focus?  Not really.  But it was kind of an intense morning, and I might have missed it.  I eagerly await what others have to say about the effects of this beer.

One more word about the label:  It's an attractively designed black, tan and green, showing a cannabis plant and hop bines.  The label peels off easily, revealing (in Hebrew and English) further details about the Cannabrew ingredients and production process.  A nice touch, and one more element that makes this special beer even more special. 

1 comment:

Thanks for your comment. L'chayim!