Israeli Beer has recently grown in popularity, seeing expansion across the country, with many microbreweries popping up. While it is possible to drink a variety of import beer when visiting, one of the best ways to connect to Israeli culture is to drink the local beer. Ice cold beer is the perfect accompaniment for a hot sunny beach day, a fun night out on the town, or just a casual day, not to mention the various beer festivals that occur in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Here is everything you need to know about Israeli beer.
Ordering Israeli Beer
When purchasing beer from a bar, knowing the beer sizes is important. Unlike the UK where a pint is 560 ml, or in North America where a pint is 540 ml, in Israel, a pint, referred to as a “Hetzi” is 500 ml. For those looking to drink a small glass, a “Shleesh”, refers to the third of a glass. Beer can also be ordered in a bottle, called a “Bakbook”.
Popular Israeli Beer
One of the most iconic beers, and perhaps the most well-known Israeli beer, Goldstar is the leader of the pack holding most of the market in the country. Goldstar is sold all throughout Israel, both in stores and bars, on tap or by the bottle. The most popular variety of Goldstar is their lager which is 4.9% alcohol while they also offer stronger and darker beers with higher alcohol content including the unfiltered edition and the “slow brew” which has 10% alcohol.
Another one of the most popular beer choices in Israel, Maccabee is considered a premium lager and was originally crafted to be exported to the European market. A pale gold color, Maccabee beer is slightly hoppy, slightly sweet and has a well-rounded malty flavor. Served almost everywhere in Israel by the bottle or on tap, it is certainly worth trying Maccabee when tasting Israeli beer.
The name Malka, in Hebrew, means queen, and Malka is one of the most popular boutique breweries in Israel. The concept started in 2006, started brewing in small batches before expanding a distributing their products, finally opening the brewery in 2008, in Kibbutz Yehiam. Malka makes a few different beer varieties including IPA, light, wheat, dark and red, all sold by the bottle. Refreshing and authentically Israeli, Malka is an Israeli beer worth trying.
An Israeli beer with a unique backstory, Jem’s has several beer factory locations throughout the country. Started by “Jem” (Jeremy) who gave up a job in the White House to brew beer in Israel, Jem’s is a refreshing beer choice that has a lot of love and care in the making. Jem’s actually brews seven different varieties including amber, stout, IPA, light lager, and dark, Jem’s is a fan favorite among local Israelis. A visit to Jem’s beer factory is also worth the experience, offering a great place to drink beer, eat food and enjoy the company.
Although this malty drink is not technically classified as an Israeli beer, it is worth mentioning. The unique malt-beverage has been brewed since 1935, and while it was once manufactured by “Palestine Brewery Ltd”, it is now prepared by Tempo Beer, the same manufacturers of well-known Israeli beers, Goldstar and Maccabee. Nesher is best-served ice cold, and while many try to compare it rootbeer, the taste is unique, sweet and refreshing that is unlike any other drink on the market. Nesher is a must-taste for any visitor.
Where to drink beer in Israel?
In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, most bars will serve the popular choices of Goldstar and Maccabee, but for those looking to try other beers from small microbreweries, there are a few watering holes that have extensive beer lists.
Israeli beer in Tel Aviv
Beer Bazaar – Multiple locations, chilled vibe, serves beer and food and plenty of Israeli Beer options. Yishkon St 36, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Beer Station – Relaxed atmosphere with many draft beers, great prices and other drinks including ciders and wine. Avraham Stern St 1, Tel Aviv-Yafo
The Dancing Camel – Popular among locals and tourists alike, often has live stand-up comedy and a great beer selection. HaTa’asiya St 12, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Israeli beer in Jerusalem
Beer Bazaar – Like its Tel Aviv counterpart, Beer Bazaar has an extensive assortment of Israeli beer and a chill atmosphere. 3 9431803, Etz Hayyim St, Jerusalem
55 Beers, Food, and Beers – Thorough beer selection, good food, and service, and it is open on Saturday! Sherover Culture Center