Hidden away in the sleepy industrial zone of the Southern city of Kiryat Gat I encountered this Green Door at the end of a dead end street that is otherwise deserted.
I came here to see Inga at work. Inga is a forty-year old German, big and noisy as well as hard to please if everything isn’t just right.
Inga is a mechanical wonder, a fully mechanical beer-bottling machine that needs to be greased more than a battle tank in order to work. Inga needs hours of set-up before going to work and is a real pleasure to see when everything is right.
And once Inga is ready, bottling is beauty in motion!
Negev Brewery, one of Israel’s leading microbreweries, bought Inga used in Germany mostly because of the low cost, but also due to her allure. Negev Brewery opened it’s current facility in 2010, but its history begins in far away Alaska. In the early 2000’s Yochai Kudler was on his almost obligatory post-army trip in Alaska where when not working he was introduced to home-brewing beer. Yocahi’s next stop was Colorado where he worked for a while in a local brewery to see if this is really what he wanted to do.
Yocahi returned home to Kibbutz Orim in the Negev Desert and continued brewing beer, at first on a rather small scale for friends before expanding and founding Negev Brewery in 2009. Wanting to expand and build a modern facility, Yochai found an empty building in the industrial zone of Kiryat Gat where he opened in 2010. In the summer of 2011 Norman Premium, an Israeli importer and distributor of premium beers purchased Negev Brewery.
Today Negev Brewery is run by CEO Sagiv Karlboim, Gilad Dror and Tomer Ronen. Gilad is responsible for brewing the beer, but all three pitch in with the physical work involved in making and packaging the beer.
Negev Brewery is environmentally conscious with the waste water collected to irrigate the garden which is being developed to host tastings of their wonderful beers.
Negev Brewery produces three beers: Amber Ale, Porter Alon and Passion Fruit. Like most microbreweries Negev does not filter their beers or add preservatives. This means that the beer is best when fresh and don’t think that sediment in the bottom of your glass is anything but a positive indication of unfiltered beer.
Negev Amber Ale is a nice traditional amber ale with an amber to brown hue. The flavor is fruity with malt, overall nicely balanced and a great beer for a hot Israeli summer. 5% alcohol.
Negev Porter Alon is a classic English Porter beer aged with oak chips to give it a creamy texture and rich flavor, with hints of chocolate, coffee and vanilla. The Porter Alon has a nice dark color and is my favorite. The international web site ratebeer.com rates the Negev Porter Alon as the number one beer in Israel. 5% alcohol.
Negev Passion Fruit beer is brewed with a generous amount of fresh passion fruit from a nearby farm to produce a beer rich in tropical fruit flavors. This is a special beer and quite often a favorite. 4.9% alcohol.
Negev Brewery http://www.negevbrewery.co.il/