When I was in yeshiva in Israel I had to make certain dietary adjustments. I got used to drinking milk from a bag, I gave up regularly drinking Mountain Dew, and I even learn to like what in Israel passes for a hotdog. The one item I truly missed while I was in Israel was beer. This is not to say that they donâ€™t have beer in Israel, in fact, they have an abundance of it. Nearly every restaurant and mini mart carries beer. Even certain ice cream shops have coolers where you can purchase a frosty bottle of the stuff. The problem is that the beer in Israel is nauseatingly bad.
The most popular Israeli beers are Maccabee and Goldstar. These two beers are available everywhere and are most comparable to MGD after it’s gone flat. Coming in a close second is Tuborg, a Danish beer that comes in two different colored bottles, red and green. The red bottle signifies a logger while the green means ale. They are surprisingly similar in body and flavor and neither have a taste that is especially pleasant. The list of bitter, skunky, flavorless beers could go on and on and having been raised in Milwaukee, a city that prides itself on its alcoholic snobbery, the beer selection I was offered could simply not accommodate my demanding palate.
It has been seven years since my days studying at an Israeli yeshiva and as I came to notice during a trip to Jerusalem this summer, time changes many things. Milk is now available in plastic bottles; Mountain Dew can be purchased at any number of stores and there is even a restaurant off of Ben Yehuda that specializes in hotdogs. But these changes are minor in comparison to the wealth of brew choices that now exist in the Holy Land and nothing expresses this new variety as well as Israelâ€™s new annual International Beerfest. However you donâ€™t need to attend an international drinking convention to immediately see the difference in selection. New pubs have sprung up all over Jerusalemâ€™s Center City offering an assortment of on tap as well as bottled beers that would satisfy even the most discriminating customer. If you are planning a trip and need to find a place with some decent suds I would highly recommend the following.
Dublin: Just off of Ben Yehuda Street this trendy Irish pub offers over 70 types of beer as well as 18 draft options.
Egonâ€™s CafÃ©: Drink beer from over 20 different countries in this classic Israeli tavern. Nestled in an ally way just off Zion Square Egonâ€™s is not only a great place to have a quiet drink but it is also one of the best Hookah bars in Israel.
Mikeâ€™s Place: Though they only have 16 different beers on the menu Mikeâ€™s Place has a great atmosphere and is one of the few bars in Israel to have a pool table. Mikeâ€™s Place is constantly busy due to its relaxed vibe and live music.
Coming Soon â€œBeerfestâ€