This summer I finally got out to St. Petersburg, although I am still closer to the old name – Piter. And because none of my vacations is without a meet with local brewers, I called Lena Tyukina and Yura Katunin in advance. I told them that I would be in the Northern Capital for two weeks and that we should meet.
What do three brewers from different schools do when they meet? – Brew unusual beers, of course. So, we started to think about what kind of beer to brew. We created a closed Facebook group and started discussing it. I suggested creating a beer with a bright and unusual flavor, but my friends in St. Petersburg protested and ask beer with Israeli specifics. And what do you mean by “Israeli specificity?”, I asked. – You’re an Israeli, you get to decide, they replied.
Brainstorming went on for several days. The contenders were rejected one after another, then sugar is not enough, then thorns a lot…. In the end, we stopped on dates. Israeli dates are actually the most delicious and this is purely Israeli specificity. And then my son, a professional cook, came up with the idea of adding English aromatic peppercorns. In music there is a concept of counterpoint (simultaneous combination of two or more independent melodic voices), so this concept fits very precisely to the combination of sweet dates and spicy pepper flavor.
Before the trip, I managed to brew the first version of this beer at my place. And not only brew it, but also ferment it and bottle it. So, the provisional recipe was tested in practice.
We arrived in Piter on June 24th, and on Sunday morning, June 26th, we were already at the brewery. Sunday was chosen to avoid all sorts of “urgent” matters, which are bound to arise at the most crucial moment. We started brewing and then Dan Madden came to the brewery. He is a Canadian brewer living in Russia. By the way, he is a very charming guy. Naturally, we immediately engaged him in the sacred act of cutting dates. It was the most exciting and the most tiring part of our cooking. Everyone worked: Lena, Yura, Dan, myself and my wife Marina, the brewer’s faithful companion.
Everything went on as usual, we understood each other from half a word, even though everyone had studied brewing in different places. I even managed to give an interview to the excellent beer magazine Real Brew. And then began the long days of waiting. Sitting in Ashkelon, I was pestering Lena and Yura with questions: how did the fermentation go? And how was the CO2? Was the flavor clean, without defects? And so on, until yesterday I received a box of this wonderful beer by parcel.
The beer has produced a beautiful and delicate flavor. Alcohol (7.2%) is almost didn’t feel, and light notes of pepper in the flavor give it spice. We thought about the name for a long time. In the end we chose Yura Katanin’s variant – “Phoenix”. Phoenix is the name of a date palm in Latin and Greek. Phoenix is also the name of a bird that rises from the ashes. Almost like our little country, which wins all the many wars started by our enemies.
That’s the kind of wonderful vacation I had this summer. And the photos taken during the brewing of Phoenix beer can be seen here in the album.