Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Night Suds - Lakefront IPA & Nine Days Havdalah Guide

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Lakefront Brewery's IPA and also provides KB's annual 9 days havdalah guide.

Found this brew at Beverage World in Peekskill, NY. Store had a very good selection of kosher certified brews including a nice selection of Redhook and Lakefront. Staff at the store was very helpful and pricing was decent.

This year's variation on the Lakefront IPA was far superior to prior vintages. The beer poured the same apricot type color, but the hops were very citrusy and the bite was nice. I enjoyed my brew on its own with my daf, but I strongly suspect that it would go well with bbq or rotisserie chicken and potatoes.

Lakefront Brewery IPA is under the kosher supervision of the Star-K (there is even a Star-K on the label).

For the experts' take on the IPA please click here As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Bonus section - 9 days Havdalah Guide

In years past, I have been approached in shul on shabbos chazon (the Saturday within the summer nine days mourning period) and asked what would be a good choice to make havdalah on. By way of introduction, on Saturday nights after the evening prayer is said, Jews have a special set of blessings that are said by which we separate between the holy shabbos and the rest of the week. There is a custom to say this prayer on a cup of wine, however this custom needs modification when the Saturday falls during the nine days of mourning.

As noted by the Orthodox Union on their website:

Meat and wine are prohibited during the Nine Days, except on Shabbat. Meat and wine are associated both with joy AND with Temple service. Both reasons combine to explain this prohibition.Even though havdala is officially after Shabbat, one is permitted to drink wine. It is preferable to give the wine to a child who is old enough to understand brachot but not yet old enough to understand the concept of "mourning for Jerusalem". Alternately, some authorities recommend the use of a substitute beverage for havdala such as fruit juice, beer, etc. Other authorities insist on wine as usual.
Should your local Rabbi direct you to utilize non-wine in your havdalah, there are multiple options to use to fulfill the havdalah requirement. Indeed, my father in law will use diet soda (or as he says "diet pop"). I recall as a child seeing my father on one occasion use hard alcohol for havdalah (and then burn the decorative plate my sibling made when he tried to put out the candle).

To me, the simplest answer to the havdalah dilemma (and one that is widely recommended by rabbinic authorities) is to use beer, which in the time of the talmud was called chamra d'medina - the wine of the masses. This brings us to the reason I get more summer phone calls and email around this time every year - which beer would I recommend?

The number one problem with the question is that most people who ask it don't generally drink beer, so they need to have something to use for havdalah that won't have them making faces in their attempt to drink the halachic minimum level for the blessing. The second problem is that since the havdalah cup is imbibed on its own (i.e. without the benefit of food) people who might be inclined to have a beer with a meal will still have problems finishing their cup when the beer is consumed on its own.

The easiest solution is not to have beer, but instead to make havdalah on what is commonly called alcopop. These are malt beverage drinks with some similarities to beer and a beer-like 5% alcohol content by volume, but do not have the beer taste. Some examples are the Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams) Twisted Teas and the Zima beverages produced by Coors. Another example would be the Smirnoff Twisted V/Twisted Ice line. However, caution is urged as not every flavor is certified Kosher. Indeed, the last time I looked at these in the beer store, most of the Smirnoff's were not certified kosher. For the complete list of those Smirnoff products and other alcopops approved by the CRC, please click here .

If you do like beer, or would like to drink something that is more manly than alcopop, the next step up would be an American wheat beer (such as the Blue Moon line, Saranac's Hefewiezen or Pomegranate Wheat) or some of the better Summer Ales such as Brooklyn Brewery's or Sam Adams' Summer Ale. Many of these beers have been reviewed on the pages of this blog and you can search through prior Sunday Night Suds reviews to find one that might appeal to you.

If you are a beer aficionado, you obviously won't need this post to tell you which ale or lager you should crack open for havdalah.

May the world have a tikkun from our three weeks/nine days observances and may tisha b'av soon be transformed to the holiday that the gemara tells it will be in the times of moshiach bimheira biyamenu.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site such as JBlog, please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

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