It sounds like an American brew from Brooklyn doesn’t it? But Chuck couldnt be further afield right now, sitting at home in Ranana, lapping up the unconditional love dogs these days so much do. Yes, Chuck is a dog. Whats more, Chuck is still alive and well and petted by Itai, Lior, Doron, Beni and Rafi. The 5 boys and one dog which make up this boutique brew clan. Originally from Ranana and now split between Kvar Saba and staying in Ranana these young guys are quite new to brewing and this bottle from which I delight, is only their second commercial batch at 400 ltrs, the first being 200 ltrs.
Its foremost a passion; a labour of sheer unadulterated love, personified in one magnificent story which had me beaming like an idiot. When too damned many Israeli’s finish their national service, are seeking solace in either Tailand for months at a time in one endless party, or they bound off to India to experiment with drugs, Chuck’s boys, in contrast, toured the US of A seeking a different solace and experimenting in hops. Even before they had even touched back down in Ben-Gurion airport, they were weaving together plans to put into practice and replicate this new world of ales they had discovered.
They purchased a home brew kit here in Israel, and faffed about for about 3 years with recipes using ingredients they actually sourced from right here in Israel (well suppliers right here in Israel). In actual fact, Chuck’s boys represent the real grass routes of Israeli beer entrepreneurship. Needless to say, that at this early stage in the game, they all hold day jobs and the beer take’s a very reluctant back seat, while the business plan jogs on at an admirable pace. The latest 400 ltr Brew took place in Mosco brewery.
As rest of the boys take on a business roll in the growth of Chuck’s, Rafi Ben-David continues to work on new recipes. It was Rafi, whom I sat down with to jot some notes and share a pint. We did this at Benny’s Cask Ale pub, and I thoroughly enjoyed both the beer and company. Rafi is genuinely one of the sweetest and most sincere guys I have ever met. He is responsible for the current Amber Ale Recipe and when I point out that this certifies him as a ‘master brewer’, it was with a reluctant sheepishness that he accepted the title. Testament indeed to the character of a true talented gentleman.
I mention as an afterthought to my review of the Amber Ale that in my opinion, the beers thus far produced by the boys are well balanced but possibly holding back from a real knock out punch, a sort of burst onto the scene with fan fair and fireworks. This is admirable in some respects but open to criticism for over-cautiousness in others. I am not one to make that criticism myself, I don’t believe anyone can at this early stage of the Israeli Beer revolution. But I strongly suspect that the next ale you take from Chuck’s Brewery, will show a darker and more bitter side to their character. I positively get the feeling that the balanced and mild characteristics shown both in the brewers personality and beers, will echo the journey of modern brewing greats.
Rafi told me that his personal education in decent beer came about through an introduction to non other than Newcastle Brown Ale (or ‘Newcy Brown’) – I am pleased to note that these 5 young guys from Ranana in their modest efforts have far surpassed the stuff that the big factory in Gateshead now dishes out in the gallons daily.