Israeli craft beers can hold their head high (I sometimes think). We have beers that we can call excellent. Just like we're known as the "start-up nation" and the "vaccination nation," there are surprising events that are making us the "fermentation nation" -- in beer as well as wine.
|Shapiro Double IPA: Version 2021.|
(Photo: Udi Katzman)
Two recent Israeli Double IPAs help to prove my point. Not an easy style to master, yet these breweries have nailed it. One -- Va'adat Kishut, a Double Dry-Hopped IPA from Herzl Brewery -- I've already written about. (Refresh your memory here.) The second is from Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh. It's called Double IPA, and it's actually the second version.
"A year ago, we introduced our first DIPA at a big event at the brewery," Shapiro Chief Brewer Ory Sofer told me. [I know because I was there and this what I wrote at the time.] "What we did then was simply increase the hops we use for our regular Citra IPA -- making it more bitter and more alcoholic. This time, we used a completely new recipe that was built to support a DIPA. We brewed one batch of over 2,000 liters.
"Our hops were Galaxy and Nelson Souvin plus two other regular varieties. It's not enough just to use the Galaxy and Nelson for dry-hopping. To achieve their full potential, we also added them at the end of the boil. We produced a beer which keeps its strong aroma and taste all the way down to the end of the glass!"
Sounds good. Let's open a bottle.
|At the launch of the first version (2020) of|
Shapiro Double IPA.
The 2021 Shapiro Double IPA is a crystal clear mid-amber color with an off-white head and light carbonation. The exotic hops begin to do their stuff with the aromas: citrus, pine and tropical fruits (mango and guava came through to me). They continue with the flavors. Under a bitter super-structure, you can detect the sweetness of malt, citrus, tropical fruits (orange and pineapple) and light pine.
The mouthfeel is tingly from the carbonation, astringent, with some alcoholic warmth (ABV is 8.2%, after all). The finish is long and bitter.
Shapiro Double IPA is a superior beer, well made and delicious. It reminded my of the Herzl Double Dry-Hopped IPA, Va'adat Kishut, which had been released just a few weeks earlier. It struck me that tasting them side-by-side would be an interesting exercise (and a good excuse to drink them again).
Both have exotic aromas of citrus and tropical fruits, though the Herzl beer was less pronounced on the citrus. The flavors, too, were similar: Deep bitter-sweet fruits, both tropical and citrus. The two beers have elegantly smooth finishes, with Shapiro being slightly more astringent.
But this is cutting it too fine, even for beer geeks. We should be enjoying these two fine beers as excellent examples of a very popular style.
[Other Israeli breweries have produced Double IPAs in the past. I can think of Double Bhindi from BeerBazaar, Imperial Paradox (a Double Black IPA) and several versions of Grizzly from HaDubim, and, even further back, Chutzpah from Buster's.]