Some called 2011 the year for Israel’s micro-breweries with a surge in the number of breweries operating across the country. In a similar way to how wineries have sprung up in every corner of Israel, micro-breweries have appeared at an incredibly rapid pace over the past few years, mostly by passionate Israeli beer lovers who strive to create beer better than anything made by the large, commercial breweries. Many of Israel’s micro-breweries are open to the public with visitors centers and brewery tours both interesting and, of course, tasty!
Israel’s Micro-Brewery Industry
The Pavo micro-brewery
Israel’s beer market is dominated by two local brands – Maccabi and Goldstar, as well as the international beers which can be found across the world (Carlsberg, Tuborg, Corona, etc), many of which are actually brewed locally under license. It wasn’t especially a lack of choice which stimulated the surge in micro-breweries being established across Israel, but rather, as with wineries, passion and determination, and a little bit of Israeli craziness!
The first of Israel’s micro-breweries was the Dancing Camel Brewery which was founded in 2006 by an American immigrant in Tel Aviv. Since then, a host of micro-breweries have set up across the country, from the Golan brewery based in Katzrin in the Golan Heights, to the Lone Tree Brewery in Gush Etzion. One of the most successful micro-breweries to have started in Israel in the past few years is Pavo, located in the town of Zichron Yaakov on the slopes of Mount Carmel.
Visiting Israel’s Micro-Breweries
Many of Israel’s micro-breweries are open to the public, however, as they all vary in scale and size, the extent varies. Some of the larger micro-breweries such as Pavo have tours available to the public (by appointment), as well as a restaurant, bar, and in the summer months, a beer garden (and beers which can be purchased across Israel). Others, are less public oriented with tours possible but less organised, or the brews more exclusive, only available on the premises and to a limited extent in the nearby towns.