In the quintessentially Jewish Adam Sandler movie, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, the actor pokes fun at Israelis’ acute affinity for the chickpea spread known as hummus, with characters using it as toothpaste, hair products, and even as a fire extinguisher.
While Sandler is obviously messing around, he does make a valid point re: the popularity of hummus in the Holy Land. Case in point: an Israeli sociologist with a fondness for beer but an allergy to gluten, has come up with his own brew, developed with chickpeas, dates and buckwheat.
Appropriately, it’s being referred to as “hummus beer.”
“It’s a very Middle Eastern food,” Bryan Meadan said of his gluten-free beer, reports AFP. “Local beer with local products.”
While chickpeas are normally used to create hummus and falafel, Meadan believes that it also has great potential as the foundation for a craft beer. The 52-year-old has long enjoyed micro-brewing in his own home, and has now expanded his operation into a small gluten-free brewery in the northern Israeli region of Karmiel.
While most beer aficionados will think of Goldstar and Maccabee when it comes to Israeli brews, craft beer has become quite the trend in metropolitan cities like Tel Aviv, just as it has in cities like New York and Toronto.
Considering that Tel Aviv’s Florentine borough was named the ‘second most hipster neighbourhood in the world’, it really shouldn’t be all that surprising. Hipsters do love craft beer, after all.
As the AFP notes, David Cohen, an American-Israeli who made aliyah a dozen years ago, also provides the region with microbrews. His special ingredient, however, is date honey.
Currently, Meaden’s craft beer will only be available in Israel. However, given the popularity of hummus in the United States and Canada, with Sabra being named an official dip of the NFL, and with hummus sales in the U.S. up from US$16 million in 2006 to US$800 million in 2012, it seems that there will likely be a demand for hummus beer as well, and soon.
If it does arrive in the Unites States, let’s just hope they bring it to Canada, too.