Thursday, 13 September 2007

Ramallah for real: Taybeh Oktoberfest 2007

By Tom Kenis

We’re in a small village called Taibeh, a stone’s throw north of Ramallah. Here, an eponymous brewery was set up in the middle of the nineties by two Palestinian brothers, returning from the United States in the optimistic wake of Oslo. Since then, among connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike, their brew has gained an unshakable reputation. It’s on sale, bottled or draft, in most of the bars and restaurants of Ramallah, Bethlehem, and East-Jerusalem. Select places as far West as Belgium offer it, perhaps logically since the latter country’s hop, together with local spring water, is what gives Taybeh beer its distinguished taste.

For a number of years now, the village of Taibeh has hosted an ode to song, traditional Palestinian debke dancing, ‘oud play, and of course the flow of fermented malt. Lots of it. Ten shekels for a half-liter pint. Get your Taybeh. This year, because of impending Ramadan, the festival is pushed forward by a month. Einstein arches an eyebrow, then lowers it again to indicate that the explanation has satisfied him. He quickly crosses out a few equations and folds away his notes.

Image: ©2007 Khaled Diab. All rights reserved.

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