October 4, 2020

Cold-brew coffee beers from BeerBazaar and Shapiro

Maybe it was because of all the coffee commercials we've been seeing lately on Israeli TV.

Maybe it's because caffeine has been getting such a good press. 

Maybe it was because coffee beers are a growing trend in the U.S. -- that vast heartland of craft beer culture.

Whatever the reason, two Israeli breweries have recently brought out beers that are:

    ✔ Both made in collaboration with coffee roasters;

    ✔ Both fermented with cold-brew coffee infusion;

    ✔ And both, in my humble opinion, excellently crafted.

But they are very different beers.

First out was Cold Brew from the BeerBazaar
BeerBazaar Cold Brew
Coffee Stout.
Brewery in Kiryat Gat.  The base beer here is a stout, a style already known for having roasty and coffee characteristics from the malt.  The beer was brewed with the collaboration of Caffe Tamati in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market, which supplied the cold-brew infusion (as well as daily cups of coffee for the BeerBazaar staff in the Carmel Market!).

The beer is very dark brown and allows no light to pass through; headless when we poured it from the bottle. Beautiful aromas of very dark roast coffee. This stays in the flavor, along with dark chocolate. It doesn't have to be said, but because of the cold-brew liquid, this beer is much more flavorful than stouts which rely just on the malt to get their coffee character. The mouthfeel is mid-body with no alcohol warmth from the low 4.7% ABV. We felt a beer like this should have a fuller and creamier body, but that's really picking nits. Cold Brew is a fine, enjoyable beer -- especially if you love the aroma and taste of good coffee.
Caffe Tamati in Tel Aviv provided the
cold-brew coffee infusion for
BeerBazaar Cold Brew.

A while later, the Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh introduced Barista Beer, a "special edition" brewed in collaboration with Coffee Shop 51 in Tel Aviv.  The base beer here is, surprisingly, a pale ale, 4% alcohol, whose malt and hop flavors blend elegantly with the coffee.

"Our challenge was to find the right 'match' between two good friends: beer and coffee," says Danny Shapiro, a sibling/partner in the Shapiro Brewery.  "Using stout would have been combining two things very similar.  So our Brewmaster, Yochai Kudler, suggested that we use a pale ale.  
Shapiro Barista Beer.
(Photo: Udi Katzman)

"The cold-brew infusion that we got from Coffee Shop 51 is brewed with Aricha washed coffee beans from the Yirgacheffe region in southern Ethiopia.  These are among the most highly-regarded coffee beans in the world, and their flavor is less on the roasty side and more fruity and sweet.  This was perfect for our pale ale base."
Tipping a hat to its origins, Barista is the first Israeli craft beer to have Amharic on the label!  If you have trouble reading it, let me help you.  It says, "Shapiro Beer."

Shapiro Chief Brewer Ory Sofer reminds us that we shouldn't ignore the interplay of alcohol and caffeine in coffee beer.  "The caffeine level is quite high because of the cold-brew infusion," he says, "and it gives you an energy kick that cancels out the drowsiness you feel from the alcohol.
Dotan Greenberg (right),
owner of Coffee Shop 51,
visited Ethiopia in search of the
perfect coffee beans for 
Shapiro Barista Beer.  

"A beer like this is perfect for a day when you wake up late and can't decide whether to have your regular cup of coffee or go straight to having a beer!"

Let's go straight to having a Barista.  It pours out an appealing hazy amber color with an off-white head.  There are intertwining aromas of very fresh dark roast coffee and citrusy pale ale hops.  The taste is mildly bitter, or better yet, bittersweet with the coffee and the fruit.  You feel a crisp citrus on the tongue, backed by more coffee, nuts and orange peel.  The body is medium and smooth.    

Dive into the realm of coffee beers with Cold Brew and Barista and you'll taste what all the shouting is about.  These beers pair beautifully with sweet desserts, of course (think chocolate truffles or lemon meringue pie), but also foods you would have a cup of coffee with: eggs, macaroni & cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich and even bagel & cheese.  Enjoy! 


  1. I want! I want! I WANT!!!
    Combining coffee and stout, what could be better?
    I'm so jealous.

  2. So how do you get this fabled brew? Batya wants it so badly, why should she be so jealous. Doug, a very interesting post. I really enjoyed reading it, but not as much as I hope I will tasting the brew. Let's get together at Beer Bazaar in Machane Yehuda after the lockdown ends. It has to sometime, doesn't it? Well, doesn't it? WHO knows?

    1. Goyishe Rebbe, reveal thyself! Whenever you're ready to meet, just let me know. We can even invite Batya. I have noticed the Barista Beer on sale in other stores in Machane Yehuda, but not the BeerBazaar Cold Brew.

    2. Right on! I'm gonna get some when the lockdown ends. Meanwhile my son Shalom in Yitzhar has become an amateur brewer and has brought me some and my son Nachshon brought me a whole case of his own wine. My son Binyamin made me a shofar from a ram that he shechted from my s-i-l's herd. Life is good. I'll call you or message you as soon as they let us out of the cage.

    3. Oh, and on the Top Documentary website, check out the documentary "How Beer Saved the World".

  3. Beer bazaar doesn't even offer it for delivery. Awful teases. Aren't they?
    Goyish, Doug, nu when? Isn't beer tasting a necessary service. Pikuach nefesh for sure

    1. BeerBazaar has informed me that the Cold Brew Coffee Stout will be back on sale in a "few weeks."


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