Israel suffered through 2020 without beer festivals – or much of any other public entertainment for that matter.
Despite the corona variant raising up its spiked head again, this summer will be very different. Beer festivals are planned for several Israeli cities and towns, the champion among them being the Jerusalem Beer Festival, also known by its Hebrew homophone, Ir Habira. It can mean either "Capital City" or "City of Beer."
|Festival impresario Eli Giladi met the|
old blogger at an earlier festival.
(Photo: Mike Horton)
Eli Giladi, the festival impresario from Giladi Productions, reminded me that this will be the 16th Jerusalem Beer Festival, although I guess you can't say "annual" because of the 2020 hiatus. It will take place in the centrally located Independence Park (Gan Atzmaut).
"There will be 150 different beers to choose from," he said. "As always, we have beers from the finest Israeli craft breweries as well as international brands from Belgium, France, Japan and Thailand."
|(Photo: Netanel Tobias)|
Two new Israeli craft breweries will be represented at the Festival for the first time:
Shikma is a new brewery in Ashkelon, built and owned by Israel Beer Breweries Ltd., makers of the popular Tuborg and Carlsberg brands. Shikma will be pouring its three new beers – an Amber Ale, an IPA (India Pale Ale), and a Märzen Lager.
Reisel Beer, a new brewery in the Galilee will be introducing its Belgian Ale to the Jerusalem crowd.
|Jeremy Welfeld, CEO of Jem's Beer Factory,|
will be conducting beer tasting sessions
on both nights of the festival.
(Photo: Mike Horton)
The other Israeli craft beers at the Festival include: Alexander, BeerBazaar, Emek Ha'ela, HaGibor, Hatch, Herzl, Jem's, Malka, Negev, Ronen, Shapiro, and Six-Pack (Super Heroes).
In a Jerusalem Beer Festival first, Jeremy Welfeld, the CEO of Jem's Beer Factory, will be conducting beer tasting sessions on both nights. Jeremy will have a special table where he will be sharing his beers and his knowledge about beer styles and brewing. But you have to get there early, since these sessions are planned for the opening of the Festival at 6:00 p.m.
Also new at the Festival is the Mashukar line of alcoholic ciders from Hamatsesa, a company which salvages apples and pears deemed unfit for marketing, and uses them to make cider.
There will be live musical entertainment on both nights beginning at around 9:30. Keep in mind that as soon as the music begins, it becomes extremely difficult to hold conversations – no matter where you may be located.Wednesday night will feature DJ Ben Ben, Jasmin Moallem, and Ravid Plotkin (Nechi Nech) hosting Sima Noon. On Thursday, the Paz Band will perform, along with Tuna and DJ Terra.
Of course, there will be food stands and food trucks around the Festival grounds. We're promised such delicacies as hand-made hotdogs, Segev hamburgers, smoked meats, baked potatoes, tortillas – as well as vegan dishes.
I've been to other beer festivals, but for the sole purpose of having a good time, nothing beats the festival right here in our own back yard. Here are a few tips to make your experience even better.
● Plan to get there and go home by public transportation. There are quite a few bus lines that go past Gan Atzmaut, and the Light Rail station is not far away. If you come by car, try to have a Designated Driver who will drink less and get you home safely. (I laughed out loud the first time I saw a t-shirt that said, "Designated Drinker.") Even a few tastes of beer can add up and make you unsafe behind the wheel.
|(Photo: Ido Nitay Flash)|
● Don't promenade around on an empty stomach filled with beer. Drink water and eat before the festival and even during, if possible. Food in the belly slows down the absorption of alcohol and keeps you on an even keel. Sipping water between beers also refreshes your taste buds.
● It's tempting to plunge right in, I know, but if you have the discipline, try taking a quick walk around the tables and stands to see which beers and other products look interesting to you. Then you can start your rounds and actually talk to the brewers and servers about their beers. They'll be happy to do so.
|(Photo: Ido Nitay Flash)|
● The Jerusalem Beer Festival is a great opportunity to sample beers and styles you've never had before. Keep it slow and pace yourself. You don't have to drink every beer you see. On the morning after the festival, wake up being glad you had a good time – and you learned a little something about good craft beer.
The Jerusalem Beer Festival (Ir Habira) will take place Wednesday and Thursday, July 21 and 22, at Independence Park, starting at 6:00 p.m. each night. The entrance fee is NIS 85 if you buy your ticket online (https://www.jerusalembeer.com/Tickets/en). For soldiers, National Service, students or Yerushalmi card holders, the price is NIS 75. Expect the price to be even higher if you buy your ticket at the gate.
You have to be at least 18 to enter without parents. Children under 12 will be allowed in only with parental supervision, and those between 5 and 12 are required to buy a ticket. Children between 12 and 18 will not be allowed in under any circumstances.