|Barrel Aged Dry Hopping IPA|
from Chalutz Chadash and
Holy Dram, made at the
Hatch Brewery in Jerusalem.
(Photo: Shay Koriat)
It's not often that we hear about a beer brewed and conditioned in a new and unique fashion. After all, what can you do that's so different from what craft brewers have been doing for 50 years?
Well, here's an Israeli first: Gilad Ne-Eman of Chalutz Chadash ("New Pioneer") has produced an IPA which was fermented and dry-hopped while in ex-bourbon barrels.
"Fermenting beer in oak barrels is not new," Gilad told me. "But doing the dry-hopping in the barrels is."
The beer is called Barrel Aged Dry Hopping, or BAD Hopping for short. It was made in cooperation with the Holy Dram whisky-appreciation group, and brewed at the Hatch Brewery in Jerusalem.
"The beer was first fermented and hopped in regular fermenters for four-five days," Gilad continued, "and then it was transferred to ex-bourbon barrels from the Milk & Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv, where it was dry-hopped with Citra and Centennial hops for 18 more days. Only 200 liters were made."
How did BAD Hopping emerge from those barrels?
Well, I saw a beautifully semi-clear, mid-amber color with reddish highlights. I inhaled aromas of pine and citrus, and I tasted complex flavors of citrus and other fruits, leather and vanilla, all in a bittersweet envelope. The body is full and the finish is long. It is delicious. I admit that I did not get any oak taste from the barrel, but perhaps it added the vanilla and leather, as well as the overall complexity.
Although BAD Hopping is a strong beer (7.1% alcohol), it is not too heavy to enjoy with food.
The brewers took a chance with this beer and achieved success. Dry-hopping in whisky barrels seems like an innovation that's going to remain with us, "a keeper." Maybe in this case, brewers in other countries will take their cue from Israel!