Carakale Brewing’s New Flavor

Carakale Brewing’s New Flavor

This University of Colorado Boulder graduate is importing Jordanian beer with a unique taste and story. Read more in this The Denver Post article! #BeerIsArt #TheArtOfBeer #NapaValleyOfBeer #Brew Carakale Brewing Company Carakale USA

Beer brewed in Jordan by CU grad

and buoyed by Dead Sea salt

takes the craft world by storm

Carakale Brewing, Jordan’s first craft brewery, begins importing to U.S.

When you’re trying to open a brewery in a predominantly Muslim country, you do a lot of things yourself. At least that’s what Yazan Karadsheh, the founder of the first craft brewery in Jordan, learned.

When he started the venture, in 2010, there was no government application for a brewery license, much less a vocabulary for such terms as “craft brewery,” “hoppiness,” or “malt.”

After two years of red tape, a lawyer friend of Karadsheh’s father helped him secure a license as Carakale Brewing Co., a riff on the caracal, a regional mountain cat species. He then convinced local officials to approve a manufacturing plant. After that, he persuaded local bar owners to let him break into a market monopolized by Heineken NV’s Amstel Brewery.

Even though beer is believed to have originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago, most Muslims believe alcohol is forbidden under Islam. Today, there are only a handful of craft breweries, mostly in Lebanon, Israel, and the West Bank. Jordan is more than 90 percent Muslim.

“My first goal was to create a craft beer culture in Jordan, which doesn’t happen overnight,” says Karadsheh, 33, a Christian and self-described “unicorn” who got his taste for craft beer in college in Boulder. “It takes time to wake up and open up their palates.”

For his first beer, he created a blond ale as a sort of a gateway beer. The brewery sold its first bottle in late 2013 and is now available in most of the approximately 600 stores, bars, restaurants, and hotels that sell alcohol in Jordan.

Now, a decade since Karadsheh became obsessed with creating a native brew, Carakale will finally make its debut in bars in the United States — in Arizona last weekend and in New York, where Karadesh and his newlywed wife live part-time, in early November. “Our second mission statement is to have us recognized in the world as a Jordanian craft brewery, which is unheard of,” Karadsheh says.

A market saturated in beer

Karadsheh’s biggest obstacle in America is how many craft beers that have launched as part of the recent boom—the number of brewers has doubled in the past four years, to more than 5,200 total. A lot of beer geeks are more interested in the next New England IPA than another exotic import.

And when he looked for distributors to move his beer into stores and bars, they balked, too, for some of the same reasons, he says. It wasn’t so much that Carakale was an unknown company from the Middle East; mostly, they were reluctant to promote yet another lineup of ales and porters in a saturated market. So he made a deal with a U.S. company that would warehouse and ship his beer, but he’d have to provide all the marketing, sales, and swag.

A little luck helps, though. A chance meeting between his cousin in Phoenix and a craft beer industry veteran led to an introduction to the rising-star owners of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. Then that led to an invitation to pour Carakale at an Arizona Beer Week festival earlier this year.

To help the beer stand out in the market, the Carakale and Arizona Wilderness collaboration uses salt from the Dead Sea and pink grapefruit from the Jordan Valley, ingredients that, along with coriander and a souring agent, make up what they are calling Dead Sea-rious. The gose style is a sour and salty German wheat brew that has become popular among U.S. brewers in the past couple years, almost as a backlash against the trend toward such high-alcohol beers as imperial stouts and double IPAs.

Dead Sea-rious was poured in three bars in its Arizona debut, and Karadsheh will add his Blonde Ale and Extra Special Bitter at the Nov. 2 unveiling at Brooklyn’s Spuyten Duyvil, one of the top bars in New York for craft beers. The Dead Sea-rious brew is…READ MORE