By Harley Zipori.
We all have our idea of what leisure time is. Some like the beach. Some hiking and camping in the mountains. Others prefer the upscale hotel resort. Summer is a time of picnics and barbeques with friends and family. Visits to foreign countries.
One thing is certain; whatever you do, you will almost certainly run into beer. Even if you don’t drink beer, someone else will. Beer and fun go together. Beer and vacations go together.
Beer is inexorably tied to leisure.
Beer and leisure is on my mind for another reason. My friends Michael and Sara have asked me to contribute a section on beer and leisure in Israel as part of a new book they are editing on leisure in Israel. It is a privilege and an honor to partake in a project with them as we have been friends since Michael took his first sabbatical in Israel a number of years ago. It also gives me a platform to do one of the things that I love best: put the spotlight in Israeli Boutique Beer.
Unfortunately leisure time is something I am rather short of lately. Between my travelling for work, my work activities to make up for the time I travel and writing about beer, I have not had much time for pure leisure activity aside from the occasional get together with friends and the occasional bottle of beer I drink at home.
Drinking beer at home is a bit of a problem lately. Due to a very intense year, I have not brewed any beer since last June and all my home brewed beer is gone. I am left with a couple bottles of Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA left over from a case I got at the Longshot competition 2 years ago and the occasional beer I buy. An no, there is no problem keeping beer around. I have noticed no deterioration in the IPA.
I hope to return to brewing in the near future. Well not so near. Perhaps in the fall. I hear Shachar Hertz has opened a new brewing supplies shop in Tel Aviv so I now have at least the option of getting some new supplies to make beer.
Taking a break from beer festivals and home brewing gives me a chance to taste beers from stores and the occasional pub.
It is getting easier to find Israeli Boutique Beer in pubs and restaurants lately. The Coffee Tree in Kfar Saba has had Alexander Green the last couple of times I met my friend Tony there. Other beers appear on restaurant menus on the occasion when I do go out.
There is a new type of Goldstar available in supermarkets and liquor stores: Goldstar Unfiltered. I treated myself to a six pack which is quite reasonably priced. I did the same when they came out with Goldstar Dark Roast a while back.
Unfiltered beers sounds like it should have all kinds of bits and pieces and may be reminiscent of German Weissbier which is generally cloudy. However brewers have ways of clarifying beer. In home brewing I use something called Irish Moss that absorbs the proteins floating in the beer, making it clear. I have never produced cloudy beer and I sure don’t filter. Professional brewing equipment has cyclone like devices to separate the solids left in the beer after boiling and negates the need for filtering. This is why when you pour a glass of a locally produced craft beer, you can’t tell it was unfiltered.
Someone once said in regard to American beers like Budweiser or Coors that you are wasting your money if you don’t drink it from a clear glass. They invest no small amount of money in producing a crystal clear product so you may as well get the full value for your money by seeing the result.
The Goldstar Unfiltered is not quite as crystal clear as one might expect but sure doesn’t have any cloudy character. It looks much like any amber ale. Except we know it’s not amber ale since it states clearly on the bottle it is dark lager. Lager is not ale. Different yeast and fermentation temperature. This Goldstar is refreshing with a bit of the richer malt flavor we expect from Goldstar and a surprising bitterness. It is tasty and refreshing but nothing too special.
My problem is that I don’t remember what a regular Goldstar tastes like and before I finish this six pack, I will have to buy a regular Goldstar to do a taste test and to see what the difference is. I promise to report in the near future.
I recently found Staropramen in the our local supermarket. This is a Czech beer brewed in Prague and one of the major brands of beer in the Czech Republic. It was a typical Czech Pilsner but I suspect that the export bottles have to be more pasteurized and are not quite the same as the keg beer you find in Czech cities.
I also found a couple brands of German Weissbeir that I have not tasted previously and will report on those in the next blog too.
I hope you all have a wonderful summer and I will try to keep you posted on any news or developments.
I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.