Dancing Camel craft beer Dancing Camel craft beer Craft beer served at the Dancing Camel, Israel's first microbrewery. (Photo: Dancing Camel)

Brooklyn accountant opens Israel's first microbrewery

Meet the New Yorker who chased his beer-making dreams all the way to Israel.

What does it take to leave your home behind? For David Cohen, it was a lot of bravery, and even more barley. When Cohen, an accountant from Brooklyn, reflected on his life he realized that although he had a successful career, he still wasn’t satisfied. Some of his happiest moments were the ones he had when he was 20, visiting Israel, not crunching numbers. So 19 years later, he finally pursued his passion to move there. While he was starting over from scratch anyway, he checked another fantasy off his list – he opened the Dancing Camel, Israel’s first microbrewery. We caught up with Cohen over a few of his craft Israeli ales.

David Cohen at Dancing CamelDavid Cohen at Dancing Camel. (Photo: Jonathan Klinger/Flickr)

Q: Why beer?

From the first lager I brewed out of a kit in my kitchen, I was totally hooked and thought ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if I could make a living doing what I love.’

Q: What was the craft beer scene like in Israel when you got here?

Literally non-existent. When I came ten years ago, I had to sneak in kits from the US.

Q: What makes The Dancing Camel special?

Our beers are truly local—Israeli wheat, Israeli flavorings. I have at my disposal a palate of fruits and spices that no one has brewed with in 1,700 years. We have an IPA that uses syrup from Israeli dates, a blonde ale that that incorporates locally grown rosemary and mint, we use Israeli pomegranates for sweetness, and we make a beer brewed with local chili peppers.

Q: Any advice for wanna-be brewers?

Do it. Brewing is a very forgiving process – no matter what you do will turn out as beer. And if you find you really love it, don’t be afraid to follow your dreams – even if they’re not practical and even if it takes you a long time to get there.

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Brooklyn accountant opens Israel's first microbrewery
Israel's first microbrewery, the Dancing Camel, was opened by a New Yorker who chased his beer-making dreams all the way to Israel.