You have been wondering when I would be bringing up Jem’s, and I can hardly blame you, but there is a ready explanation and one which I hope hits the forgiving spot. Allow me to elaborate. JEM’s happens to hold a special place in your authors heart on account of it being the first Boutique, no; scratch that, the first ANY beer I ever drank in Israel. Those who know me well may argue that I am talking through my pint glass and there are many witnesses to larey nights in my teen years drinking Goldstar on tap in cheap tourist joints in Jerusalem. And to this I say, pah! that doesn’t count! I am older, wiser and generally more educated since those days of shady endeavors. And so when I say, that for me and a great deal of others (including since established micro breweries), Jem’s lifted the lid on the potential of Israel craft breweries, I mean it with all sincerity.
It was still in the early days where Jem’s Beer Factory’s (Petah Tiqwa) modest popularity meant you didn’t need to wait on hold due to the inundated booking lists only to be told they are full up for the evening, that I frequented this establishment quite often. One fine evening I introduced a number of friends to the joint and we sat drinking in true British style, ‘Ad Bli Dai’ I have since been told is the Hebrew term, and obviously appreciating the enthusiasm we had for filling up his till, Mr Jem’s himself pulled up a chair and joined us. What a character! But more on him and the Beer Factory itself in a future post where I can take pics and selfies etc. That night we coupled the famous bangers (sausages) with every beer on tap and I still smile in fond recollection each time I drive close by on my way home from work.
Yet for all this fondness, emotional attachment and the rest of it, we grew a little distant myself and the Jem’s bottles, as I set sails further afield to explore other notable beers and ales. But I thank you for sticking with me through the above preamble, because we have arrived now at the point of all points. It is with a shame induced vengeance that I reengage, starting with the 8.8 Belgian Ale. The label on the bottle tells me all the basics; its medium bitter, blond in colour and tastes sweet & Fruity. Not exactly a BeerIsrael.com review so Jem’s people (if your reading this), do yourself some justice man or at least allow me…
Deep yellow, full bodied, cloudy, slightly syrupy even with a brief stage appearance of a off-white head, to take a short bow. It’s gone as quickly as it came.
Unlike the more hoppy-head beers where the aroma catches the nose from a good distance off, this beer, like most other Belgian or Belgian styled beers, require you to get your nose right in it. A gentle sweet perfumed scent if you will. Soggy rum soaked primary school lunch box fruits (delightful, really) and oddly, a hint of peanuts.
Its strong. Note that down. The more tuned in minds will deduce this from its name. But its also quite sweet. The alcohol flavour I thought to be Rum, again soggy fruits but sticky Banana sticks out as the dominant one, medium amount of bitterness and a pleasant soft malty-ness. There is an elegant, subtle intro of hops too.
I am rather glad that the bitterness didn’t stick around unwanted, I didn’t think it would have suited this brew at all, so they certainly balanced the flavour levels. Spot on.
Not something you pay too much attention to when sitting around a table of palls all up to their 3rd or 4th pint and the laughs flowing as freely as the beer, but in contemplative mood and focused mind, these genteel gasps are frequent and unpredictable, offering nasal reminders of a very good Jem’s 8.8 Belgian Ale.
Dubbel, Tripel or something else? If your a Belgian beer (or styled beer) the likelihood is that your one of these. So which is 8.8 if any? I have quite a good idea myself, but this might be a good opportunity to get some of you to finally start using the comments section on the website. If you have tired the 8.8, what are your thoughts? If you have not, read on to rectify this.
8.8 % Alc per 330ml
Specialty Malts used “Caramunich” (a caramel malt I think)
Best drank in a full pint glass at Jem’s Beer Factory itself (ideally coupled with the sausages). They have one in Ranana now too. Failing that, get yourself a couple of bottles and cancel all prior arrangements.