October 11, 2021

Three "impressive" IPAs: Desert Haze (Mikkeller & Negev) ● DOX2 (Dancing Camel) ● White Smoke (HaDubim)

Ashan Lavan ("White Smoke") IPA from HaDubim":
Fruit flavors a'plenty, unhindered
by the bitterness.

India Pale Ales continue to be the beer of choice for most brewers -- and not only in Israel.  It's a worldwide phenomenon.  Beer drinkers find the hoppy aromas and flavors and the bitterness suit them perfectly, and they flock to try every new IPA that hits the shelves.  The breweries are only too happy to oblige.   

In Israel, here are three recent IPAs that are all worth trying.  I still see them in stores in Jerusalem, and I understand they are also available in other cities.  

The first is Ashan Lavan ("White Smoke") from HaDubim, whose brewer-brothers Rotem and Dagan Bar Ilan are known for their excellent IPAs.  The beer is made at the BeerBazaar Brewery in Kiryat Gat.

Ashan Lavan is a hazy, golden-amber color.  The pour releases aromas of stone fruits, citrus and light pine.  The first sip is dry and bitter, but then it unfolds into bitter fruit: peach, mango, orange.

DOX2 Imperial IPA from the 
Dancing Camel Brewery in Tel Aviv:
Strong in alcohol, color,
aromas and flavors.
In some IPAs, the bitterness blocks out the flavors, but not here.  Ashan Lavan has a short, bitter finish that makes you want to take another gulp.  At 6.2% alcohol, a superior IPA.

A very different but equally enjoyable IPA – actually called "Imperial IPA" – is DOX2 from Dancing Camel in Tel Aviv, Israel's first craft brewery, owned by American-born David Cohen.  The 9% alcohol makes this beer Imperial, but so does the dark amber color, and the strong and complex aromas and tastes.  Malt, caramel, citrus, dried fruits, leather, vanilla and chocolate are some of the sensations I detected.  The finish is acerbic and dry and full of alcoholic warmth.  DOX2  is quite an amazing IPA, not at all typical for this style.

The last beer is an international collaboration between Negev Beer (in the Tefen Industrial Park) and Mikkeller, Europe's famous gypsy brewer based in Denmark.  The beer's unwieldy name is Desert Haze: Mikkeller X Negev.  It was actually brewed in the De Proef Brewery in Lochristi, Belgium, and shipped to Israel in cans.  Since no Israeli micro-brewery has a canning line, you can actually call Desert Haze the first Israeli craft beer in cans, even though it isn't really "from" Israel.  

Although called a "Pale Ale" rather than an IPA, Desert Haze meets all the criteria for the IPA style except for the slightly lower alcoholic volume -- 4.9%.

Desert Haze, the collab beer
from Negev and Mikkeller:
Israel's first canned craft beer --
although brewed in Belgium!

Desert Haze was brewed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Hacarem Spirits, an import agency and co-owner of several Israeli properties, including the Malka Brewery where Malka, Negev and Herzl beers are brewed.  The recipe is a collaborative effort of Mikkeller representatives and Hacarem employees Maor Helfman and Yoni Fliderman.  It includes oatmeal and rye, in addition to barley malt.  

Desert Haze is a creamy and hazy New England-style Pale Ale, very low bitterness  and with favors of mango, pineapple and red grapefruit.  It is delicious.  Like I said, there are still cans available, but if you haven't tasted it yet, I suggest you move with all due speed.  

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