June 8, 2014

2014 Israel beer festivals -- Update

As June busts out all over, we decided it was time to take another look at what this summer holds for us faithful followers of beer festivals.  Since I last wrote on the subject back at the start of the year, some dates have been confirmed, though still not all.

Let's begin close to home, in Jerusalem.

The ghosts of beer festivals past.
Jerusalem Beer Festival - "Ir Habira" -- August 27-28 in Independence Park.  Organizer/Producer Eli Giladi says that this will be the tenth festival in Jerusalem, and it will be bigger and better than ever.  "We are investing a lot of money to make this the greatest," says Eli, including food and music.  Jerusalem bars and restaurants will be offering specials during the week of the festival.  All of the bigger names on the Israeli beer scene -- industrial brewers, craft brewers and imports -- are already signed on, according to Eli, and the newer and smaller brewers will also have a chance to display and offer their wares.  He promises that over 120 beers from Israel and abroad will be available.

Eli said that if any smaller or home brewer still wants to join, they can send him an e-mail at giladi007@gmail.com

Tel Aviv "BEERS 2014" Exhibit -- September 9-11 at the Train Station (HaTachana) in Neve Tzedek. 
This location is a great improvement over the Nokia Center, where previous BEERS exhibits have been held.  It was more like a stuffy trade show than a beer festival.  Moving it from the dead of winter to the end of summer is also a great idea.  The information came from the Ben-Ami Studio which produces the BEERS exhibits.   
Mateh Yehuda Rustic Beer Festival -- Still no final date yet, but Chani Ben-Yehuda, who is responsible for festivals and events at the Tzlilei Hakesem company, which is organizing the event, says that it will take place at the Mini Israel Park in Latrun at the end of August or the start of September.  This will also be a new venue, as the festival has been held until now at the crossroads of Srigim and Givat Yeshayahu.

With Ofer Ronen of Srigim Brewery
at Zman Amiti.
Beer City Festival in Haifa -- August 21-22 at Students Beach.  After getting the run around from a number of offices in Haifa, I was finally able to obtain the information from Polina Charnovelsky from the "Customer Relations" Office in the Cultural Department of the Haifa Municipality.  This one is the biggest festival with free admission and first-string musical performers, but it's sponsored by Goldstar and Maccabi beer, so don't expect any Israeli craft beers to be served.              
In addition to these major festivals, there will probably be some smaller, local ones going on later this year.  If I hear about any, I will let you know.

The Zman Amiti mini beer festival.
I myself attended two in recent months.  The first was the Fifth Zman Amiti Beer Festival, held at the Zman Amiti bar tending school in Tel Aviv just before Passover.  It was a small affair, held inside the building.  I enjoyed meeting or re-meeting some of the bigger brewers, as well as some of the smaller ones like Baron (Lior Degabli), HaChatzer (Yochai Meytal) and Lanner (Boaz Lanner).  I hope to write about them all.

A few weeks ago, I went out to Modi'in where my son Aharon lives with his family, for an even smaller "brewers festival" held just outside the More Than Pub in the new Ligad Center.

There were no more than a dozen exhibitors, most of them on the smaller end of the spectrum.  I finally met home brewer Noam Shalev who lives in Modi'in and makes sour beers under the Shibolet label.  Alas, because of my failure to communicate, Noam didn't bring any of his beers with him, so I'll have to wait until next time to get to drink them.

With Noam Shalev in Modi'in:
Next time I get to taste his beers.
Boaz Harel, from Three Cats Brewery in Ramat Gan, brought me two bottles of a British porter which he brewed according to a recipe from 1834!  One was brewed as it would have been at that time, and the other as a porter is brewed today.  I will do a comparison tasting of the two and report on that.  I thank Boaz for his gifts and his patience.  

I also met Levi Fried, a physician whose passion is home brewing.  He served me his Chocolate Porter, which was made with real cocoa nibs and had the most creamy chocolate taste I have ever experienced in a beer.

A few steps away, Roni Waldman of Ruth Brewery (named after his wife) served me his Coffee Break Porter, made with roasted coffee beans.  Here too, the coffee taste didn't have to be imagined.  It was real and bitter, yet beautifully balanced by the malt sweetness.

I'm going to do my best to attend all the festivals I can.  If you notice me walking around, step up and say hello.  That's what beer festivals are for.

Tonight, Trudy and I are flying to the U.S. for some family and friends visits over the next three weeks or so.  It's also a great chance for us to try some American craft beers.  If I can do some writing from there, I will.  If not, it will wait until I return.  In the meantime -- A wonderful summer to all!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6/15/2014

    I didn't know there was a brewery in Ramat Gan. Is there (there probably isn't...) a website or directory or something where all the brewers in Israel are listed? It'd be nice to know when traveling around the country where there's someone brewing beer in the vicinity. Also, this may be my final comment here -- since the Jerusalem Marathon I've developed a passion for racing, and it doesn't combine well with drinking beer, sadly.


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