Funny Camel, Serious Beer

There’s a nice profile in Haaretz of a new Israeli brewery, the Dancing Camel Brewing Co., which opened last August. It’s the brainchild of David Cohen, a former New York accountant who followed his dream to open a microbrewery in Israel.

From the Haafretz article:

Cohen, a long-time amateur brewmaster, now aims to challenge the traditional Israeli palate and introduce casual beer drinkers to a taste beyond just Goldstar or Carlsberg. For Rosh Hashanah, Dancing Camel made a pomegranate beer and after Sukkot, an etrog (citron) flavored brew was introduced. Last month’s Hanukkah offering was a delicious stout with cherry and vanilla flavors, similar to the traditional holiday sufganiya jelly donut.

Their regular lineup of beers includes a Pale Ale, an India Pale Ale. a Hefe-Wit and a Stout. Seasonal fare includes a Cherry Vanila Stout, The Golem (a big 9.5% beer) and Six Thirteen Pomegranate Ale, which was made as a seasonal for Rosh Hashana. The name has an interesting story, too:

In Talmudic lore, the Pomegranate is reputed to contain 613 seeds, corresponding both to the number of commandments in the Bible and the number of nerves in the Human body. The pomegranate’s place on the Rosh Hashana table (as well as inevitably, the table cloth) is a timeless tradition in the Jewish home, reflecting the wish that our blessings for the New Year be as abundant as the seeds of the “Rimon”. A delightfully refreshing pale ale with the unmistakable earthy fruitiness of pomegranates. At 5.8% abv, Six Thirteen — 5768 allows for indulgence without guilt. Truly a beer worth praying for.

 

Interestingly, He-Brew’s first beer, Genesis Ale, was also flavored with pomegranates. The article also mentions that Dancing Camel is one of only a handful of microbreweries in Israel, suggesting that their craft industry is just getting off the ground. Cohen is quoted as saying that “his audience is growing more receptive. Israelis are not necessarily drinking more beer, but drinking better beers.”

Dancing Camel seems to have a nice sense of humor and I love their motto: Funny Camel, Serious Beer. And I think it’s cool that he’s trying not only to do traditional styles but also to use local ingredients to create something new.

“Part of the point is not just to come over here to brew an English ale. My intentions were to use Israeli spices, and ingredients. If not for the barley and wheat, then at least for the spices to give it something completely Israeli.” Mr. Cohen flavors his beers with local ingredients like date syrup, cilantro, oranges and cloves.

 

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