by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
This past week Lone Tree Brewery invited a group of bloggers and tweeters to a Gush Etzion Boutique Food Producers food expo. I attended with my older son to get an idea of what’s going on in the food business in Yehuda/Shomron (the West Bank). He attended for free beer and wine.
Gush Etzion is a mix of agricultural areas (mostly vineyards and orchards), residential areas, and small industrial areas. It has a high percentage of American (and British and Australian) immigrants. And many of those immigrants have brought their specialties, hobbies, interests and expertise to Israel, with Gush Etzion providing an environment where they can flourish.
Chocoholique is a boutique producer of chocolate liquors. The alcohol content is lower than the average chocolate liquor, with a much smoother and richer flavor of chocolate than any other chocolate liquor I’ve tried. I sampled the chocolate-peanut butter, chocolate-peppermint, and chocolate-coconut flavors. The peanut butter was a Reece's peanut butter cup in an adult version, the peppermint was an adult peppermint patty. The coconut was smooth and well flavored. I didn’t try the chocolate-cherry, chili, intense chocolate, cinnamon, or espresso.
Their products are kosher l’mehadrin (glatt kosher) and very reasonably priced – particularly given the quality. I purchased a bottle of the chocolate-peppermint as an end-of-Shabbos meal treat for my wife. I highly recommend this product, enjoying it far more than any other chocolate liquor I’ve had.
This is their web site, which could use some work.
Lone Tree Brewery is an all natural organic micro-brewery with a series of specialty beers.
Now I’ll admit up front I’m not a beer maven (specialist) nor much of a beer drinker. As one of their people was saying, in some areas (including Israel) people have developed the modern custom to drink their beer in a very cold glass…to hide as much of the beer flavor as possible. (This conversation came up with a British fellow who was sampling as well, who wanted all his samples at room temperature).
I sampled most of their product line, trying their India Pale Ale, English Northern Ale, Belgian Piraate, Extra Oatmeal Stout, and Pale Ale.
The India Pale Ale was a nice flavorful beer that both my son and I enjoyed. Not to strong, not to weak, a good beer flavor that most people would enjoy. The English Northern Ale was a stronger beer with more flavor and hints of bitter that I really enjoyed and my son liked as well. My wife, trying one on Shabbos (we took some home), found the strength and bitter not to her liking. The Pale Ale is more similar to a high quality mass market beer. It was nice but not really different than any other higher end beer. My wife, on the other hand, enjoyed this one.
The Extra Oatmeal Stout was something completely different. I’ve had Guinness and other dark beers before, so I was expecting a heavy and bitter beer. Instead it was smooth with no heaviness…and a strong flavor of oatmeal, which was weird but not unpleasant. I would definitely buy one and enjoy it again. My son, on the other hand, was completely put off by the oatmeal flavor. The Belgian Piraate was ok, neither my son or I thought it was much different from the India Pale Ale. It didn’t really stand out compared to the others. (At least to my non-beer oriented palate.)
Now these beers are completely organic and natural as well as being kosher l’mehadrin (glatt kosher). They also state that they are unfiltered, so the yeast may continue working even in the bottle. After buying a variety and enjoying them on Shabbos, my son noted that the flavor profile changed from the first sip to the time a glass was completed at a leisurely pace. Kind of like a fine wine (without sulfites) who’s flavor profile changes as it gets oxygenated, these beers were doing the same thing. It’s probably the first time in my life I’ve had a beer without strong preservatives that could change flavors.
Lone Tree Beer. About twice the price of the mass market swill (in Israel), and worth it.
Settler food, natural, made with love and quality…it’s good for you! Support the Jews of the land, give their products a try. They ship world wide.