August 6, 2014

Hindi -- Malka's new IPA

"We waited until Israeli beer drinkers were ready for India pale ale -- and now we think that the time has come."

With these words, Assaf Lavi, the owner of Malka Brewery on Kibbutz Yechiam in the western Upper Galilee, announced the inauguration of Malka's new IPA -- Malka Hindi

Other Israeli micro-breweries make IPAs.  There might be something like 15-20 different brands out there.  But most brewers seem to believe that Israeli beer drinkers haven't yet developed a taste for the intense hop flavor and bitterness that characterize India pale ale.  They prefer their beers with less extreme tastes, sweeter, maltier.

Recently, however, Lavi noticed that more people were asking for the Malka IPA at their own brewpub, where it was being served on tap on an experimental basis.  "Our kegs were emptying fast," says Lavi.  "I thought that maybe Israeli tastes have developed enough to support the entry of our IPA to the general market."

In the U.S., India pale ale is one of the most popular craft beer categories.  In fact, it's almost impossible to find a craft brewer in America that doesn't make at least one of those hoppy, bitter beers -- where International Bittering Units (IPU), the universally accepted scale of bitterness in beers, reach the 40 to 70 level.  Alcohol by volume is usually in the 6% to 8% range.

"I don't know how long it took IPAs to become popular in the U.S.," says Lavi, "but it was probably longer than it's taking in Israel.  We tend to speed up any process over here."

Malka Hindi weighs in at 6.2% alcohol, a nice stiff drink, while the bitterness is 30-40 IBUs, less than the average IPA and a concession to Israeli tastes.  In addition to hops with alpha acids (for the bitter flavor) and hops with beta acids (for the aroma) which are used during the wort boiling, Hindi is also "dry hopped" during the fermentation process.

Malka Hindi pours cloudy, with a pretty red-copper color, resulting from the caramel malts that are used.  The aroma is actually less hoppy than other IPAs, with citrus, tart fruits and pine dominating.  The taste, as expected, is medium bitter, with sweet malt and fresh berries in there.  What I found so appealing is the balance that Hindi achieves between the hops and the malt, the bitter and the sweet.  Although it's a good, classic IPA, it doesn't have the hop overload which may trouble some beer drinkers.  It's a beautiful enjoyable beer, and a welcome addition to Malka's line -- and to Israeli craft beer.      
"Malka" in Sanskrit.
In the way of a footnote, "malka" means "queen" not only in Hebrew, but also in Sanskrit, the classical language of India.  So Malka Hindi means about the same thing to Hebrew speakers as it does to many millions of Hindi speakers around the world.       


  1. "To achieve the hoppiness, alpha and beta hops are used during the boiling,"
    Doug, Really, you can do better than that.

    1. Noam, you are right. Sorry about that.

  2. I don't know. When I drink a good beer, I am always full of hoppiness! I am always hoppy to taste a new good beer!

  3. Anonymous8/06/2014

    Doug, you're back. Have you tried HaGalil's new pumpkin beer? I broke my protracted beer fast this week to sample a bottle from BeerMarket. I don't wanna prejudice your experience, so I shall keep my thoughts to myself for the time being. As to Malka's IPA, it's way too mild -- their Pale Ale is a more flavorful beer, if you ask me. See you at Thirsty Thursday tomorrow? Or at Glen's homebrew Friday the day after...?

  4. Hey Doug! I wanted to tell you about the Hindi but you beat me to it. We just got it in. Interestingly, whenever we take on a local brew, we always start with an IPA or as hoppy a beer as they produce. It's a flavor the craft beers provide that commercially produced beers don't and justifies the added extra value.


Thanks for your comment. L'chayim!