One of the most pleasurable new beers I’ve had recently is called TropicAle, which is brewed by Yuval Katz at the facilities of the Beer Bazaar Brewery (Mivshelet Ha’aretz) in Kiryat Gat. His beer label is named Ketta, a Hebrew word meaning “portion” or “section” or “paragraph.” It’s a word widely used in Israel, and Katz says “it just seems to fit.”
Katz is from Herzliya and has been home-brewing since 2010.
In fact, in 2012 an early version of TropicAle won Best-in-Show in the prestigious Samuel Adams LongShot home-brewing competition. A few months ago, Katz girded his loins and began to brew commercially.
“It seemed the next logical step,” he says, “sharing my passion for beer with the world.”
Katz isn’t jumping in with two feet, however. He’s keeping his day job as content editor at HT Zone, an online consumer club in Kfar Saba for hi-tech employees. He calls TropicAle a “New England pale ale,” which is not exactly a recognized beer style, but the name is widely used among brewers. It signifies a pale ale that is full of fresh fruit flavors, hoppy but not overly bitter, and unfiltered. This suits TropicAle to a T.
TropicAle pours out a hazy, bright orange color, with a strong hop aroma, redolent with citrus, tropical fruits and grass. But it’s the taste you’re really waiting for. In addition to the citrus, I detected passion fruit, mango, pineapple and banana. Not everybody will find these exact flavors, of course, but I don’t think anyone would miss the powerful “fruit shake” character of this beer.
The finish is long and bitter, which has you wanting to take another gulp.
Katz says that he was aiming to achieve a hoppy and fruity beer “that doesn’t compromise on taste.” I would say that he definitely succeeded. And so, it seems, does the beer drinking public.
“I was blown away by the sales in Jerusalem stores,” Katz marvels. “To me, it shows that Jerusalem beer drinkers are more open to trying something different. In Tel Aviv, everybody chases the latest trend. In Jerusalem, if they like it, they drink it!” Katz plans to bring additional beers to market under the Ketta brand. These include an English porter, a saison and a Belgian quadrupel. If he can maintain the quality standard of TropicAle, these are beers you should be looking out for.The writer is the owner of MediawiSe, an agency for advertising and direct marketing in Jerusalem. He writes a web log on Israeli craft beers at www.IsraelBrewsAndViews.blogspot.co.il