May 19, 2022

Two from the Nomads: Helle in a Bucket (with cardamon) ● Pale, not Poison (with sumac)

The Nomads brewing team of
Yonah Rubin and Jacob Mogerman:
Different style beers with different spices.

The Nomads are a brewing team of Yonah Rubin and Jacob Mogerman who have chosen (so far) to brew their beers each in a different style and each with a single spice.  So their first two beers were a Saison brewed with za'atar (which I wrote about here) and a Kรถlsch brewed with sage (which you can read about here).      

They have just come out with two new beers in the same line:  A Brown Ale made with cardamon ("Helle in a Bucket") and an American Pale Ale with sumac ("Pale, not Poison").  These beers were brewed at the Hatch Brewery in Jerusalem, but Yonah told me that the Nomads are now looking for a place of their own. 

"Helle in a Bucket" Brown Ale from the Nomads:
Brewed with cardamon spice.

Let's begin Helle in a Bucket, brewed with the cardamon (called "hel" in Hebrew -- get it?).  The beer pours out a deep red amber color, semi-hazy, with rocky head that stays around a while as a ring of foam.  The aromas are cardamon and minty spice, with the malt adding some bread and brown sugar.  The flavor also has cardamon, which gives the malt a sweet character, and also some floral, fruit and spice.  

Helle in a Bucket is evenly balanced between the hops and malt, and has a semi-dry finish and long, spicy aftertaste.  I wonder how the cardamon would have fared in a beer style different from Brown Ale. 

"Pale, not Poison" American Pale Ale from the Nomads:
Brewed with sumac spice.
Pale, not Poison is an APA made with sumac, a red to purple colored spice used in the popular za'atar blend.  I do not know the taste of pure sumac, but Yonah Rubin described it to me as fruity, citrusy and a little sour.  "We wanted it to bring some tartness to our beer without using a souring yeast or bacteria."

It's a slightly hazy, light amber color, with a thin white head and slow carbonation.  There are aromas of grass, spice and some light grain.  The flavor brings intense spice (either from the hops or the sumac additive), as well as some lemon and a pleasant tartness and sourness.  The balance is towards sweetness, with the malt contributing weak bread notes and even weaker honey flavor.  The finish is crisp and the aftertaste is mid-length.

Pale, not Poison is a good, innovative beer.  The sumac is probably the cause of the beer's unusual spiciness and tartness.  IMHO it works very well.  I'm interested to see if the Nomads continue with their "different spice" beers, or if they move in a new direction.                               

May 11, 2022

Three from the Shevet Brewstillery: Farm Mama ● Twist & Stout ● Rye or Die IPA

The Shevet Brewstillery in Pardes Hanna introduced three new beers at the Tel Aviv craft festival: One in its family of core beers (The Farm Mama) and two in the Small Batch Series (Twist & Stout and Rye or Die IPA).  Shevet's Small Batch beers are produced in limited quantities, and when they're gone, they're gone -- unless Brewmaster Felix Magdziarz decides to make them again. 

The Farm Mama joins the core beers produced by
the Shevet Brewstillery: 
A Belgian Witbier brewed with orange zest,
chamomile, coriander and white pepper.

The Farm Mama is a 5.2% alcohol Belgian Witbier, brewed with wheat malt, oats, orange zest, chamomile, coriander seeds and white pepper.  Very few Belgian Wits have been brewed commercially in Israel.  This style is the Belgian version of the popular wheat beers (Hefeweizen) brewed in central Europe.  Wits are usually made just with additives of orange peels and coriander seeds.

The Farm Mama is a fine Israeli way to introduce you to this style.  It's a clear color of pale straw, not too carbonated with a thin head.  The initial aroma is spicy, grassy and lemony, with the hops contributing floral scents, and the malts faint white bread.           

The taste is low to mid bitter.  You should be able to pick out flavors of lemon, pepper and even farmhouse funk.  The beer is crisp and refreshing (good timing with the hot days upon us), thin bodied, dull effervescence, and a mid to long aftertaste. 

[The four other core beers from Shevet are The Ice Man (Helles Lager), The Wee Laddie (Scottish Ale), The Red Knight (Irish Red Ale) and The Hop Guru (India Pale Ale)]. 

Twist & Stout from the 
Shevet Brewstillery is an
Imperial Stout brewed with
cocoa nibs and vanilla extract.

Twist & Stout, a small batch beer of around 2,000 bottles, is an Imperial Stout (11% alcohol by volume) based on Shevet's earlier Small Batch Imperial Stout from 2020 (which you can read about here).  However, Twist & Stout is brewed with cocoa nibs and vanilla extract -- and what a difference they make!

The beer pours out a very dark brown, but clear and translucent, with a tan head of mixed rocky bubbles.

The aromas are from the malt and the additives.  You get delicate chocolate, caramel, faint vanilla and light coffee roast.  The taste is skewed towards the sweet, but with a balancing bitterness.  Flavors of roasted malt and dark chocolate are prevalent.  The strong booze is felt in the taste and the alcoholic warmth.  This beer is thick and flavorful, full in body and effervescence.

Enjoy Twist & Stout by itself -- just sip and let the flavors wash over you.  You might also like it paired with a rich and/or chocolaty pastry, hearty macaroni and cheese, or strong aged cheeses like camembert, brie, gouda and cheddar.  

The other Small Batch beer is Rye or Die IPA, 6.5% ABV, brewed with rye and a hop mixture of Simcoe, Centennial and Magnum.  About 3,000 bottles were issued. 

Rye or Die IPA from the
Shevet Brewstillery is an 
India Pale Ale brewed with rye.
This beer looks different from the start.  It's a opaque deep amber, with a creamy off-white head that begins thick, reduces in time but never really disappears.  The aromas were a mix of grass, pine, light citrus and perhaps peach from the hops, with the malt contributing some dark bread.  The taste is bitter with hop flavors of dark fruits, orange, pine and pepper spice -- but balanced by the malt sweetness.  The finish is semi-dry, with a mid to long aftertaste.

The body is medium thick, and the mid to high carbonation is tingly on the tongue.

The aromatics and taste of Rye or Die IPA were different from other IPAs.  All of the elements blended well to produce a beer that I found surprising and enjoyable. 

Shevet (and the rest of us) is fortunate to have Brewmaster Felix, who continues to put his skill and experience into every new Shevet beer.                

May 10, 2022

Jerusalem Craft Beer Fair -- May 11-12

Up until recently, I've been chasing down every local "beer festival" and reporting on them.  I stopped doing that because it was driving me crazy and almost all of them were not really festivals at all, but "marketing events" organized by some importing agency or another.

However, I continue to seek out and report on real festivals -- and one of them is taking place this Wednesday and Thursday, May 11-12, in Jerusalem's First Station. It's being staged by Birateinu, the Jerusalem Beer Center.  They organized a few of these before the corona era and they were all a lot of fun.  Entrance is free, the venue is comfortable and limited, and you are surrounded by local eateries.  This year, there is also live music on each night.

These are the breweries who will be selling their beers:   

Beertzinut, Meltzer, Fass, Hatch, Chalutz Chadash, Srigim (Ronen and Emek Ha'ela), Super Heroes (Six-Pack), Sheeta, Malkat Ha'emek, and Schnitt Brewpub.  In addition, the Milk & Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv will also have a table to present their whisky and spirits.

For more detailed information (in Hebrew), please see here.