|Bira v'Am Ha'aretz ("Beer and People of the Land"),|
a West Coast IPA from Chalutz Chadash Brewery:
Bitter, fruity, citrusy and piney.
Gilad Ne-Eman, owner of the Chalutz Chadash ("New Pioneer") Brewery and of the Brew Shop in Beersheva, has brought out three beers which he calls the "Protest Series." What are they protesting? The forgotten businesses in the Old City of Beersheva, which have fallen by the wayside in the name of progress. The labels of the three beers depict the walls of abandoned buildings in the Old City.
I missed the first "Protest" beer, named very strangely Isra-Trash, but I was able to obtain the next two. Of these, the first one released is called Bira v'Am Ha'aretz, a Hebrew phrase which means "Beer and People of the Land." In the Bible, People of the Land originally meant something like the landed gentry, people of substance. Over the years, it has come to mean ignoramus, common people. Each of us may decide which definition Gilad had in mind when he named the beer.
|What we think of when we hear West Coast IPA . . .|
And if that doesn't give you enough existential angst, read the bottom line: "Not the old elite, nor the new. Not the liquid on the bottom of the bottle. What remains is us. Just a broken picture of all that we wanted to be."
Not the best mood to be in before you drink a new beer!
| . . . but perhaps we should |
think locally when we drink
an Israeli West Coast IPA.
The beer's appearance itself is quite enchanting. A clear, reddish copper color, with little bubbles rising up to form a small but tightly packed head of foam. The aromas are right there on the West Coast where they should be. Citrus and other fruits, including pineapple, inside a blanket of what I have to call fresh cream.
The taste is very bitter, but not so much as to hide the flavors of blended fruits, tropical and citrus. When you breathe out after you swallow -- the so-called retronasal effect -- you can even detect some malt sweetness.
The finish is long and bitter, with fruit and pine. The beer is not so much well balanced as well structured. I believe that it's a real West Coast IPA -- and Chalutz Chadash has reminded us that Israel also has a West Coast.