Jerusalem brewery, Munich counterpart to make mixed drink
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Jerusalem brewery, Munich counterpart to make mixed drink

Herzl Beer is selected to collaborate on a binational German-Jewish quaffer

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Herzl Beer partners Itai Gutman (left) and Maor Helfman in their Jerusalem brewery (Courtesy Mike Horton)
Herzl Beer partners Itai Gutman (left) and Maor Helfman in their Jerusalem brewery (Courtesy Mike Horton)

These are heady times for Herzl Beer. The Jerusalem microbrewery has been chosen to produce a collaborative, binational Israeli-German brew to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first beer purity law, the famed Reinheitsgebot.

Until 1993, German beer was brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot, which only permitted water, hops, and malt as ingredients. After yeast was discovered in 1857, it was added as the fourth legal ingredient.

Israel has its own long hops history, but is still a relative newcomer to the beer-making industry. There are approximately 1,300 breweries in Germany producing more than 5,000 brands of beer. Israel produces about 80 different beers from a few dozen breweries.

The selection is a tremendous honor for Herzl, a microbrewery producing around 7,000 bottles a month of its three ales, its founder said.

“The opportunity to work with our counterparts in Germany is amazing and gives us a great source of pride,” said Maor Helfman, who founded the craft brewery with his business partner, Itai Gutman.

The German craft brewery chosen to partner Herzl in the project is the Crew Republic in Unterschleissheim near Munich, where partners Mario Hanl and Timm Schnigula have earned a reputation for their excellent brews.

The cooperative beer will be introduced at the Munich Jewish Museum in April 2016 as part of a new exhibit, “Beer is the Wine of this Land: Jewish Brewery Tales.”

The exhibit will explain the role Jews played in the beer industry and hop trade, starting in ancient Israel, through the Torah and Talmud, and then dealing with Jewish hop traders, brewers and brewery owners in Munich and ending with the recent development of craft beers in Israel.

The binational beer will be sold at the museum restaurant and in selected bars and shops in Munich.

Conrad Seidl, the "Beer Pope" (left) and Bernhard Purin met Herzl Beer's Maor Helfman (right) when they visited the Jerusalem Beer Festival last summer (Courtesy Mike Horton)
Conrad Seidl, the “Beer Pope” (left) and Bernhard Purin met Herzl Beer’s Maor Helfman (right) when they visited the Jerusalem Beer Festival last summer (Courtesy Mike Horton)

Herzl was chosen after Bernhard Purin, director of the Munich Jewish Museum, and Vienna’s Conrad Seidl, a well-known beer writer and blogger also known as the Bierpapst (“Beer Pope”), visited several Israeli craft breweries last summer.

“We decided that Herzl Beer represents the best of Israeli craft brewing because of its excellent and highly innovative beers,” said Purin.

Purin said he was a particular fan of Embargo, a Herzl porter peppered with Cuban tobacco that was the winner of a silver medal at an international Berlin beer competition. The porter ale is completely black and lacks any foam, with hints of chocolate, a light smoky flavor and a hint of vanilla.

“It will be a fascinating mission for the two breweries to bring the taste of Israel and the taste of Bavaria into one bottle,” said Purin.

The exhibition, “Beer is the Wine of this Land: Jewish Brewery Tales,” will open at the Munich Jewish Museum on April 13, 2016, and run through January 3, 2017, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot.

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