Well, so is mine, sometimes. But he can open the front gate, hang up a shingle, and it becomes a public house. I still can't do that.
|Chuck and me at his "home & bar."|
"We call this place a 'home & bar,'" chuckles Chuck. "Most of my customers are friends and neighbors," he says, referring to his Nachlaot neighborhood in Jerusalem. "During the warmer months, I'm open on Thursday nights, my 'Thirsty Thursdays.' I also open on special holidays like Lag BaOmer and Jerusalem Day. . . ."
Above the bar is a notice that Chuck's Place is "under rabbinical supervision." "That would be me," he says. "Years ago, when I was living in Efrat, I was ordained a rabbi."
Chuck came to Israel from Chicago 13 years ago and started home brewing because he didn't like any of the standard Israeli beers that were available at the time.
"The first two beers I brewed were a honey lager and a red ale," Chuck continued. As luck would have it, those were two of the beers Chuck was serving when I visited.
The honey lager was one of two that he makes, this one called Honey Bru. It was less sweet and less hoppy than the other beers. Chuck adds the honey right after flame-out, just when the fermentation process begins, so it has a long time to become food for the yeast. The alcohol goes up (6.7%), but not the sweetness. I found it a pleasant summer drink, not very hoppy, maybe some light spice and fruits to keep in interesting, but the honey is all gone.
|Chuck's brand: Teverya Street Beer.|
The red ale I thought was less defined, although somewhat sweeter than the honey lager. It fits in the category of American amber and red ales very comfortably. The malts and hops are well matched, with the malts winning by a nose.
Chuck was also pumping a third beer that day -- a pilsner, which was my favorite, with the classic pils crispness, extensive fruity and hoppy aromas, and the taste of blended citrus fruits. At 4.5% ABV, I can see myself drinking a lot of this stuff on a hot summer's day.
Chuck also brews a stronger honey lager (Honey Blaze at 7% ABV), an amber ale, and a bock.
Chuck hopes that he will soon be taking his talents to a restaurant, where he will, in effect, turn it into a brew pub with his beers. He is working on developing several new beers for the restaurant, one of which is a "Mexican-type beer," though it's not clear exactly what that means.
|The view from Chuck's gate.|
"With all my beers, I am trying to make an American-style beer that I grew up with. I really don't do anything that special when I brew. Put all the ingredients in the pot and cook them. Then once it is cooled I put it in the fermenter, add the yeast, and God takes over from there. Walla, 16 days later the beer is ready to drink.
"I am just a simple man who likes making beer and drinking it. The beers speak for themselves; you just have to drink them. Maybe the one special thing I put in to my beers is love and caring for the beer I am producing."
Nothing wrong with that. If you'd like to drink some different home brews on a hot Thursday night, drop into Chuck's Place. (Check first on his Facebook page: Baruch BeRabooah Fan Page.) Tell him I sent you.