Party in the Shtetel

New Israeli Beers Inspired by Yiddishkeit Klezmer Orchestra

Please, leave these beers alone in the dark.

'Vilde Haye's beers', inspired by an imaginary klezmer orchestra.
'Vilde Haye's beers', inspired by an imaginary klezmer orchestra. Courtesy

Vilde Haye is a quirky new Israeli boutique beer brand inspired by an imaginary klezmer orchestra and its colorful members. 

The beer’s name means “wild beast” in Yiddish - a term also used for naughty children.

The concept started out as a final project by a group of design students from the Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel. The students hoped that presenting actual, live beer during their final project would help take the edge off an otherwise stressful experience, said Itay Tzuker, one of the brand’s founders. 

But they quickly became serious about their goofy idea, and started working on the actual beer making. The students teamed up with the Mosco boutique brewery, which makes Vilde Haye’s beers to order. 

Each beer has a mascot - a shtetel musician with his or her own back story.

There’s violinist Artek Binyamin Tzukerkendel, who adorns the amber ale (“a bitter but balanced beer that rests on the border between happiness and melancholy, just like a violin”); accordionist Zelda Manya Grepps (“burping Zelda Manya”), the village crazy lady adorning the wheat beer; and clarinetist Yoshkele Baygele Shmendrik (“fat bagels Yoshkele”) on the stout beer. The cartoon illustrations verge on the grotesque, while the stories often veer into the pathetic. 

We particularly liked trumpeter Fania Esther Shtroyman and her blond ale seasoned with beet. The beet makes this beer light purple and contributes a deep earthy flavor.

The brewers caution that the purple color will fade if the beer is exposed to light, and recommend leaving Fania alone in the dark.

For drinkers who happen to feel inspired by the beers, the brewers invite submissions of stories about their comical characters and promise to publish the best on later versions of the beers’ labels. 

Beers retail for a recommended price of 16 shekels and can be ordered or found at stores listed on the brand’s website