For those of you not yet familiar with the latest Jem’s beer effort, its safe to say that it has made a big splash in the beer scene. With waves rippling from the casual lunchtime drinker at their brew pub, to the fanatical tasters who are understandably excited about the first ‘new’ beer to come out of the factory in a good few years.
Here is why; (1) Jeremy is a master brewer. This is well known and so expectation is heavy. (2) Jeremy runs a successful chain of brew pubs which are a model of business success, in no small part to the pure consistency of his main 5 beer types. So when there is a new one out, public interest is very high. (3) It’s an IPA. The style of beer which has become so popular in Israel with enthusiasts of the craft, that most are now quite the experts these days. Knowledge is great and competition is high.
So with, interest, expectation and competition all stirring my thirst, I put my foot down and shot off to the Mother ship in Petah Tiqwa for my first of many pints of it.
I usually meet Jeremy there when I visit and this time too he did not disappoint and offered me a bit of personal master brewer commentary. And as his lips did the talking, mine did the drinking and overall…a better introduction could not have been had. But what about the beer? I’m glad you asked because I am about to shamelessly “Kvell” (A Yiddish term for LACHFOR, which is in turn a Hebrew word for “Obnoxiously Gush“).
But before I do so, I must offer a pre-thingy. This review refers to the tap pint only and NOT the Bottled version. So rarely have I come across such stark differences between the tap and cap, that each deserves its own subtext.
Slightly cloudy, beautiful blond. Crisp white creamy layer on top of a medium head sporting thin carbonation stream lines, and a very impressive clinging lace to the inside of the glass.
I love the aroma off this. its very well balanced and delicate. Floral and sweet. Grapefruit and mandarin. Subtle and certainly not ‘blow your nose off’ with hops. Distinct American west coast hop aroma (I’d guess Amarillo) which tingles and teases the senses. There are also clear signs of depth and plenty character to follow, a heavier secondary waft which promises. Genius balance. Rare and brilliant.
I am typing this as I am drinking so please excuse the ping ponging between my thoughts.
In no particular order, the first thing I want to point out is the delicate carbonation which literally tickles inside and around your mouth. It’s fancy and its artistic. Again I want to emphasise the art of balance, and this time between the carbonation and the mouth feel. Without being overly deep and heavy set on the tongue, you still manage to get a good full-bodied mouth-feel, companied with a gentle sensation of each carbonated bubble delicately popping out tangy grapefruit. Wash around a mouthful for more malty and grassy tastes. Finally, take note of the back sides of your tongue…hold it there…hold… and feel the sour rotten fruity flavour alert your senses before allowing it to slowly trickle down your throat.
Bitter is just not a big player with this brew. Your after-taste will have slight token bitter tones to remind you that this is indeed still a proper craft ale, but again even that is balanced superbly with the delicious grapefruit vapours which come back out through your nose when breathing back out.
So where is the IPA? All This sounds a bit APA right? Well as Jeremy eloquently put it during a hard berating triggered by my assumption that his IPA was going to be modelled in the style of a conventional India Pale Ale, “Get Zionist man! It’s nothing to do with India, its an ISRAELI SPECIAL ALE”.
And that it is indeed.