The Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh and the HaGibor Brewery in Carmiel chose the recent Jerusalem Beer Festival ("Ir HaBira") as the venue to unveil their new IPAs for the summer. Both of these beers are tantalizingly fruity, crisp and refreshing. Although many people think of light lagers as traditional summertime beers, these IPAs are delicious alternatives.
|Summer IPA from HaGibor Brewery:|
Citrus and tropical fruit
aromas and tastes.
To do them justice, the abbreviated IBAV Tasting Team convened to give their report especially for you, dear readers. We chose the Eliyahu Hummus restaurant in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda market as the location to drink the beers, eat some wonderful hummus and express our colorful opinions.
Let's begin with the Summer IPA from HaGibor ("The Hero"). Brewery partner Eran Grunwald told me that it is hopped with Citra, Magnum and Mosaic -- American hops all of which are known for their juicy fruity aromas and flavors.
Summer IPA pours out a hazy amber color, with a full, foamy head. The aromas open with strong fruit scents, while allowing some malt sweetness to permeate through. Mike picked up on pomelo, grapefruit and retsina (pine). We couldn't wait to drink it. We all tasted the fruits -- though each tongue perceived them differently. Mike thought the grapefruit flavor,"startles the palate: I was expecting something softer. It reminds me of the orchards along the Yarkon River, where I would go and pick the grapefruits."
|Shapiro Beer's Session IPA:|
Strong bitterness, with
grapefruit and tropical fruits.
Manny called attention to the tropical fruit tastes, and also peach and pear. "I love the dry taste and finish, interacting with the fruit," he said. "I don't necessarily consider this a summer beer; it's not lite. [In fact, alcohol by volume is a hearty 5.9%.] You don't gulp this beer down."
I loved the Summer IPA for its mild bitterness, which let the fruit flavors shine through. We all enjoyed this beer and gave it a unanimous "thumbs up."
The beer from Shapiro is called Session IPA, which simply means that the low ABV (4.3%) is going to let you have more than one -- a drinking "session," if you will.
Right before we tasted it, I asked Dani Shapiro, one of the brewery's partner-brothers, how this beer was different from Shapiro's excellent regular IPA.
"Our regular IPA is darker, sweeter and with a fuller body," he explained. "The hops we use are citrusy hops. For our Session IPA, we use only pale malts such as Pilsner, Carahell and wheat. The hop selection gives aromas of citrus and tropical fruits: Mosaic, Amarillo and Citra."
|The abbreviated IBAV Tasting Team,|
Manny, Doug and Mike, enjoyed and opined about
HaGibor's Summer IPA and Shapiro's Session IPA.
(Photo: Mike Horton)
Session IPA is a slightly hazy, pale straw color. "It's fizzy like a soda," said Mike, though this produced only a thin head. We got aromas of citrus fruits and melon. The taste was very bitter, with notes of grapefruit and undefined topical fruits.
"The bitterness hits you immediately," proffered Manny, "even before you take a swallow." The body is light and the finish short and bitter.
If this would have been a head-to-head showdown, we would say that we preferred the HaGibor. The hop flavors were brighter and stronger, and the beer more balanced. But since it wasn't, we say that both of these IPAs were thoroughly enjoyable and excellent summer refreshers.