Another such brewery was the Shachar Brewery. My first impression of Mr Ronnie and his wife Sharon, was that this couple are certainly not playing games and are as serious about their beer as he is about his cowboy hats. Coming from an impressive culinary background, Ronnie names his beers fondly after the people closest to his life. I tasted the “MAZAL” (named after his living mother, may she only know heath and beer), A Spiced Ale.
You may think I am exaggerating when I tell you that I am tempted to tell all other Chrismas, winter, Spiced ales and Barley wines to all just pack it in, give up the fight, surrender and except defeat. Only drinking this beer for yourself will allow you to tap into the enthusiasm and respect for I have for this brew. Traditional Northern English hops spiced with cinnamon and another spice, which I have forgotten. 6 more beer styles which I did not yet get to sip from were on offer, and its safe to say the bar has been set very high. (Facebook
stand was my next stop and the ‘Red Ale Mountain Beer’
. Finally, a beer whose quality requires judging on the brewing method itself and not the sheer hop quantity. The maturity and flavour depth of this beer is quite obviously crafted by brewers who are on top of their game. A superb recipe of different malts, balancing toasted varieties expertly. It took me back to European grass root craft beer styles and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to chat much with the proprietors, but that’s ok, they are very much on the radar for a visit and tour. Stay tuned. (Facebook
The Shapiro brothers where out there in force, its always nice to see them and the keg poured Pale Ale seems to be getting better each time I taste it. Ongoing improvements are always welcome the mark of a brewery which genuinely gives a damn about their customers. Further proof of this is their actual presence here today, for Shapiro are no small craft brewery anymore, no sir. Itzik Shapira shared his thoughts why irregardless of their commercial success and growth in recent years, these grass roots festivals are still very much part of their DNA.
“This area has a lot of breweries, and there is an attraction to the local aspect which people love to support, especially when it involves a sunny Friday afternoon drinking great beer.” (Facebook
SCOOP: Shapira Brewery is working on a new beer due to be rolled out after the holidays. More on that later…
Abeer Haela Brewery
(a Play on the Hebrew word for Knight) offer some unique takes on traditional beer recipes. This was my first time coming into contact with their brews and I wasnt sure what to expect. Their Black beer with strong aroma of licorice was not my cup of tea, but I can think of plenty who would enjoy a brew like that. Actually, no licorice ingredients where used to get to the final taste, its honey and something else apparently. It’s interesting stuff and worth a taste. (Facebook
Last and not least, its the Brewery which really puts this part of Israel on the commercial beer map. Sriggim Brewery
and the Emek Haela / Ronen
beer range. The man behind the taps is same someone who I quoted in the opening of this article and someone I am proud to now call friend, Ofer Ronen
. They have truly won my heart with their quality brews. Each beer clearly defines the word ‘Craft’, (for which there is much debate over the meaning in brewing circles). Impressive and innovative personalized takes on traditional beer styles, Sriggim demands respect from even the most hard nosed beer critique. I am not that, quite the opposite in fact, but if tomorrow I woke up a bastard I would still struggle to find serious fault with any of their beers. (Facebook
A handful of small craft brewers and 3 larger commercial breweries all see fit to call the Mateh Yehuda Region their proud home. Beautiful, Biblical and scenic, perhaps there is no better place from which the heart of Israeli Craft beer should beat that malt and hop goodness down through the Kvish 82 and on to a shelf in a shop near you.
Most of the above named breweries are open for visitors and offer food and a beer garden to enjoy. Check their websites and Facebook pages for more info. If you need help with the Hebrew, let me know