Jerusalem Beer Fest 2009: Festival “HaBira”


If the wine festival is a cultured and sophisticated gathering of individuals, then the beer fest is glass full of debauchery cleverly misnamed. Despite being sick with strep throat, I managed to get out and join the crowds in the Holy city to have a great time. The music was great, the food was awesome, and although I didn’t get to drink (drinking and antibiotics dont go so well together) I did get to have doughnuts !!!!

The Venue

Located in the convenient and grassy (much better than the train station) Independence park, the festival was not too over crowded and well laid out, if it were a concert. The beer fest always seems less like a beer fest and more like one big concert with beer. Mostly because they dont have a set price for “all you can drink” beer just the regular prices that you can get at a bar so there doesnt seem to be any point. There were two sections

1. the main section where the band was playing and surrounded by beer stalls. The stall were woefully inadequate to supply the people with beer, and my husband was upset because they refused to sell him the tasters.

2. the food and craft section which was away from the speakers so you could actually hear yourself, but close enough that you could still hear the music. Score one for the Beer Fest

The Food

All the foodies are constantly talking about simple, and fresh food.  Well it seems that El gaucho really has been watching Gordon Ramsey, because they took their great restaurant to the street in a simple yet refreshing way. The menu was simple and all grilled in front the waiting patrons. The choices consisted of chicken, beef, burgers or chorizos. All served in a big fluffy white roll with chimi churry. Thats It. Seriously thats it. No complicated ordering or cooking and everything was super fresh, from the well grilled and tasty burgers to the soft bread and tangy sauce. Unlike the competition at the fest who all had deep fried food, El Gaucho really stood out by just being themselves, grilled meat on fire. and I appreciated that. 

Last but not least was desert, when was the last time anyone had real doughnuts in Israel. Well for me it has been a long time. And they were fresh, tasty, and not overly sweet. The doughnuts were made right in front of us with this clever contraption similar to the krispie kreme. Thank you Mister doughnut for a great doughnut.

The Music

I don’t think I need to say more than Pishutey HaAm rocked Jerusalem.

Here are some links of the show:

Finally the Beer:

I love the play on words with festival Habira: beer and the capitol, but the promoters may just want to rethink the whole beer aspect. The festival did feature over 30 beer labels  from all over the best of the beer world, there was definitely a lacking in smaller breweries, and speciality beers. In other words there wasn’t a single beer I could not have found in a bar within a 3 mile radius of the festival. Plus when we got there since the stall were so mobbed they would sell tasters, you just had to buy a whole ½ liter. How many ½ or ever 1/3 can anyone drink at a given time, which automatically means that the number of beers one will try will be low. Further one of the reasons people go the beer fest is to try different beers and to lay out for a whole ½ or 1/3 on a new beer does’t sound like a good idea. So we were very unadventurous and just went with Dancing camel which always puts out exceptional beers and we supported our local Israeli counterparts, not that I mind giving money to Guinness but I believe in supporting the  locals.

To sum up The beer fest had all the makings of a great party: Rockin music, tasty food and plentiful alcohol, I am just not so sure how “beery” the beer festival is…


One response to “Jerusalem Beer Fest 2009: Festival “HaBira”

  1. Great review of a great party. Although I felt it was more of a concert than a beer festival, and what up with not having taters? I mean I don’t mind paying for them but not to offer them at all?

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