Craft beer is all the rage with hipsters across the world. Microbreweries have become the new in-place to drink for all the flannel shirt and skinny jean wearing 20-somethings seeking an alternative to the oh-so mainstream brews consumed by those with less-refined tastes.
While alcohol consumption isn’t exactly what the Middle East is known for, the microbrewery trend hasn’t been lost on the region either. From the streets of Istanbul to the olive groves of Palestine, microbrewing has found a subculture to move the craft forward.
For all the beer connoisseurs out there, we’ve done you a favor and compiled a list of some of the most well-known microbreweries throughout the region.
Bosphorus Brewing Company – Turkey
Stemming from one Englishman’s desire for his favorite British craft brews, which he couldn’t find upon moving to Istanbul, Bosphorus Brewing Company emerged. Opening its doors just a few years ago, brewmaster Philip Hall sees the company as filling a void in the Istanbul drinking landscape. Hall says, “More than ever, Turks are travelling, working and studying abroad and developing the taste for the individuality of crafted beers with character.” The brewery and pub now serve as an ideal place to relax, throw back a few and meet others with a passion for finely crafted brews.
Carkale – Jordan
Hailed as Jordan’s first microbrewery, Carakale opened its doors in 2013. Its motto? To bring quality beer production back to its origins in Mesopotamia. Founded by Jordanian Yazan Karadsheh with the mission of establishing a local beer culture, Karadsheh boasts a wealth of experience working in microbreweries throughout the United States prior to opening his own in Jordan. In just a few years, this new microbrewery has made waves in Jordan and is now served at some of the nation’s most upscale dining spots.
Back in 2006 during the Lebanon-Israeli war, one man and his friends decided to distract themselves from the conflict by brewing beer in their kitchen. People told Mazen Hajjar and his friends that they were crazy to start a business, especially when a war was brewing. They decided to go right on ahead and even chose the country calling code as a fitting name for their pure Lebanese brew, 961 Beer. The brewery has since grown significantly from its humble origins but still adheres to its founding principles: traditional techniques, quality ingredients and love.
From the seaside town of Batroun, north of Beirut, the Colonel Microbrewerylaunched last year. Quickly, the new crafted beer has caught on, far exceeding the production and demand that its Lebanese owner Jamil Haddad originally anticipated. Haddad hopes that his new business venture will also work to develop beer culture in Lebanon, encouraging beer festivals and more craft beer options to choose from.
Taybeh – Palestine
Established by two Palestinian brothers who decided to return to their homeland after living abroad in the United States for 20 years, the brewery opened in 1994. Constructed in their native village of Taybeh in Ramallah, the brand proudly bears the same name. The goal of Taybeh Beer is to boost the local economy, while also introducing a new style of beer to the region. Like many other microbreweries within the region, the business started out as a hobby by co-founder Nadim Khoury who transformed it into a business with his brother David.