Micro breweries are popping up in Israel like in the rest of the world, and Pavo is one of them, it is located on the same hill as Carmel ,the winery in Zikhron Ya’akov (but it’s very different in terms of size and production). Also, the tiny brewery is interesting because its founder Nachi Bargida has chosen not to use any additives in the making of his beers, and if it were located in Germany it could well postulate for the Reinheits Gebot label, the centuries-old purity law certifying that a beer is made using nothing else other than the traditional raw materials. Usually the favorite beer in Israel these days when you look for something fresh and reasonably good is a Gold Star (the brewery is owned by the Tempo group) which you will pay usually 8 shekels in a shop (1,6 € or 2,4 USD), but it is an industrial product and Pavo is a completely different story and quality. Let's remind that Israel is a hot country much of the year and that you don't think to wine first when the temperatures are so high, so many people will just have beer.
Driving back to where we came a couple days before (Carmel), we parked very close to the Carmel winery near the top of the hill overlooking the valley (picture on right). The tiny brewery sits there in the immediate proximity of the wine giant. It looks at first like an open-air restaurant or a Beergarten, and Nachi Bargida wanted it that way as he wants the place to be in the spirit of casual beer venues in Germany, where people enjoy drinking beer with also some food if they want. The restaurant part had just opened a couple of weeks before this visit.
The Beergarten above is the only such one in Israel. All its equipment, tables & seats has been imported from Germany. The serving sizes are not German though, no one-liter or half-liter mugs, but 33-centiliter ones. The philosophy is that it's the right way to drink beer here : the cool temperature hasn't time to go away and this is a better sizing for Israel. Still, it's an evening thing, when the sun goes down and the breeze makes life easier, and there will be every week musicians here with no extra fee other than the normal price of a beer.
There is a small lab in the corner, that's where they do all their checks and analysis. They by the way do some analysis work for third parties like for example even smaller breweries which don't have the tools. The lab part is very important to make a quality beer. You need to see for example to know if there are any unwanted bacterias, you want to measure the viscosity of the liquid, the foam, the bitterness, the color, the alcohol and the sugar.
After looking around, when he set up this brewery, he decided to buy Slovakian tools. Nachi Bargida says that today Slovakia is the biggest producer of beer-making equipment, also because the Germans began setting up their own machine plants in this country where the workforce is cheaper. The company who made the brewing machine is PSS, it is located in eastern Slovakia. The technicians at Pavo made several trips there to help redesign the machine and have it manufactured according to their needs, because of a feature they wanted to include or sometimes a curve on a pipe they considered useful. The machine is custom made with a lot of sensors here and there to check vital data. The copper is only for beauty, it's stainless-steel in fact and anyway they're not allowed to have any copper come into contact with food or beverage products anymore.
We walk to a separate room with several temperature-controlled tanks. The open-air room is protected from the sun with a green plastic sheet which gives a weird coloring to the whole place (the municipality hasn't yey approved the planned roof here, but they'd need one for the working environment). The bottling takes place in this same room.
They're making kosher beer here but it's not like wine, it doesn't mean that gentile or non-observant jews can't touch the machines or the vats, plus there's no blessing or religious ritual to make over the beer. The regulation is actually very basic, you just pay and have the rabbi come once in a while to check the installation, and you just order the raw materials to a company which respects the basic kosher rules, that's it.
Speaking of the yeasts, they're theorically re-usable for ever but they decoded to use a batch of yeast for 10 fementation batches and then take new ones. The choice of yeast coupled with the temperature control allows to produce the different desired beers.
The only thing that could be considered an additive in this beer making, Nachi Bargida says, is that they add minerals in the water that they use. We know that water quality makes a big difference for many beverages. Here in Zikron, the water is considered too rich in calcium and other minerals, so they got it distilled first to get it neutral, then they give it back the right minerals. This costs a lot of money but it was the only way to work with a water quality that could suit their goals. Also, they can this way have at easy rich what could be the equivalent of different water sources, depending of the proportion and nature of minerals that they use. They are not tied to a single type of water and it helps a lot when you want to make different type of beers, because again, the water plays an important part. Of course, the re-mineralisation of the water is done on a very precise and homeopathic mode so that it can reproduce a desired type of water.
Pavo makes 6 type of beers right now but is planning to make 13 different beers. Here is what I tasted at the brewery's bar (there's an indoor bar too).
__ Pavo Israeli Pale Ale. 5,3 °. Very nice, refreshing beer with savoury substance, that's food ! Lovely beer.
__ Pavo Redish Lager. 4,7 °. Less pleasant when you just has this IPA.
__ Pavo Pilz. Pale color. 5 ° alcohol. Nice Pilz even if I still prefer the first one. The shape of the glass changes with the type of beer.
__ Pavo Stout. Almost black color. Aromas of coffee and chocolate, very surprising and interesting. Very nice indeed, with the right bitterness at the end.
__ Pavo Wheat. (HefeWeiss beer). 4,6 °. Great beer, Paulaner has a competitor here...
These beers sell for about 15 or 16 Shekels in town. Nachi Bargida says that in Tel Aviv they can be found in places like Mashkaot (English page), or in bars like Porter & Sons (English page), also in Temple Bar (English page).