This Week’s Beer 30 Show Features Levi Fried of Righteous Brew
This week’s Beer 30 Show featured, amongst other people, Levi Fried, from Righteous Brew. Fried, about whom I’ve written previously, is currently on a summer visit to California for a beer tour, and was able to join the show. The Beer 30 Show, which is produced by DFZ Radio and recorded live in Southern California, is also livestreamed, as well as available to be viewed on Vimeo. Other guests on the show were Jason Torres from BierBuzz, Erick “Riggs” Villar, who had been a homebrewer, then a headbrewer at multiple places, and now is currently working also at BierBuzz, and Rolando Alvarado, the chef at Lordsburg Taphouse & Grill.
The hosts, Dino and Cody, asked Fried about how he got into craft beer (answer: his mom), and, with his background in biochemistry (he is an MD) and with his impending move to Israel in 2009, he knew he would not encounter many craft beer options while in Israel. And, with his biochemistry background, he had a head start with the science, he just needed help with the process of brewing. So, he set about to learn how to homebrew with the help of Joe Moakley, of Angel City Brewery. And he has brewed since moving to Israel over five years ago.
They also asked Fried about spoke about Israel’s beer culture. The big thing, Fried answered, is that “Israel is interesting, because it’s really a wine country and beer’s been seen as secondary.” However, as people go abroad and have other beers, they have been discovering that beers can be quite good. He said that the craft beer scene in Israel now is like it was in the 1990s in California, whereby everybody’s scrambling to get their breweries going. He said there are about 20 craft breweries and that a lot of them are contract breweries. As far as getting hops and malt, they get their hops from Germany and US, while the malts are coming from the UK and Germany. It’s both “challenging and exciting”, he said and that the beer is getting better there. (For more on the beer industry and culture in Israel, see here.)
Later on in the show, they asked him about getting yeast in Israel with which to brew. They hadn’t realized that Fried has a huge yeast background and that he may have the largest collection of different brewing yeast cultures in all of Asia. He spoke quite knowledgeably about yeasts, including saying that, despite the excitement over hoppy beers a few years ago, sours and now are ascendant and that we may be entering a new age of yeast.
Fried brought an Imperial Stout in a 750ml bottle, which those on the show rated highly. Fried was appreciative of this aspect, as he said, “I was happy that they wanted to try my beer, that they were accepting, and that they enjoyed it. I was excited that they rated it and enjoyed it as people who drink beer and rate beer for a living. It was humbling.”
Overall, he said the experience was great, in part because “we got to drink some really great beer, some of which I could not find or have afforded”, but it was also “highly enjoyable and great to meet other people in the beer industry, although we went a bit overboard, but that’s a sign of a good time.”