Something is brewing in the little town of Bethlehem. Not of milk and honey, but barley and hops.
A carpenter by trade, Rafat Houary found a higher calling: brew master at Wise Men Choice Beer.
Houary’s friends were skeptical when he said he wanted to change the beer landscape in the west bank with his ales.
Houary said, “They started laughing, what you are doing. They usually drink lager, the cheap lager beer what we have.” His friends quickly acquired the taste and Wise Men Choice Brewery was created.
Some curious neighbors wondered how this carpenter turns water into beer. “They think I’m adding the alcohol, that I have a bottle of alcohol and I’m adding it to… this is funny,” said Houary.
More of a laboratory than brewery, he concocts different flavors into six unique beers. A one-man operation in the basement of this Palestinian Christian’s house.
Houary is mostly self-taught, learning to brew in the United States and online. Every beer crafted by hand, limiting him to less than a thousand bottles a month.
With Christmas upon us, Bethlehem pilgrims can try his special brew, Deep Winter Ale.
All of Houary’s ingredients are imported, except one, which is found his garden. Houary said, “One of the key ingredients for that local, West Bank, Bethlehem taste is sage, which gives it, its signature Aroma and taste.” He also said the sage also gives Bethlehem IPA its amber color.
For Houary it’s simple, he brews what he wants to drink. Ultimately, he plans to grow his brewery so he can leave his job as a carpenter to attend to his flock of beer drinkers.