Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beer Tasting: African Lager Review

This post is more for fun than education. Because to be honest there is not much to talk about with these beers. They are all lagers and pretty good examples of the style. You will also see included in the the tasting are 2 Egyptian Malt Liquors. Enjoy a much more picture intensive post.

All these beers fit the environment and traditional food well. When it was 100F cruising down the Nile in Aswan, these light Pilsners hit the spot. And when it came to the spice heavy rice and vegetable dishes of Egypt and Kenya, the high carbonation and crisp dryness helped to clear the palate.

Stella is probably the most popular beer in Egypt. It is made by Al Ahram Brewery which is now owned by Heineken (like all the Egyptian beers). Here is their description:
"Stella is the authentic Egyptian lager beer since 1897. For more than 110 years now, Stella has been providing unique quality through its refreshing suberb taste.
We believe in people coming together and enjoying themselves; taking time out from the daily routines that rein their lives; Stella is always there to offer them a free pass to a care free time, a delightful experience and enjoyment with every sip. Stella is all about "Good friends and Good time"

Taste - light, crisp and a touch of bitterness

Sakara - This beer was the most available for us on our travels. And it is also made Al Ahram Brewery.

"Sakara Gold is an Egyptian beer with a very smooth taste and very moderate Alcohol level 4% alcohol.

Taste - light, crisp and biscuity taste/aroma

Sakara King - just read their description:
"If you're seeking a more daring experience, make sure you try out the Sakara Ling 10% (long live the King)."

Taste - Actually pretty darn good. No hot alcohol, and a bit of caramel and fruitness. The flavors reminded me of a Barleywine, but with Pilsner flavors.

Meister Max - The other high alcohol option, also made by Al Ahram.
"With its 8% alcohol, Meister Max is a beer for a new and daring men generation.
Meister Max was the first high alcohol beer to be launched in the Egyptian market, and still it's the market leader because tat beer offers you power, taste and style at the same time.
Meister Max is a sophisticated and premium beer with an international dimension for the stylish and strong men only. It enforces your masculinity and expresses who you truly are; a virile man... It's part of the way you look and the way you act. It's got the looks and power just like you.
Meister Max gets you in the mood quickly with its powerful buzz and very acceptable taste: that beer is here to challenge you, to make you live your life to the max with style and control"

Taste - Covered in the description. Made me feel daring, powerful, sophisticated, stylish, strong, masculine, virile and buzzed.

Tusker - The most popular beer in Kenya. It is brewed East African Brewing Limited (EABL) as are all the other beers in Kenya. We did get to try several other beers while on Safari and they are very similar (notes below). Here is the description for Tusker:

"George Hurst a co-founder of Kenya Breweries Ltd, was killed by an elephant during a hunting expedition in 1923. In memory of his tragic death, this famous lager beer that he had helped create was renamed 'Tusker'.
Tusker is brewed from 100% African ingredients that are all locally sourced. The barley is from the Savannah and the Maasai Mara. The spring water is from the Aberdare Mountains. All the yeast is developed locally. The cornstarch is sourced from a local Kenyan company. Every grain of sugar is delivered from West Kenya. This means that you feel closely connected to the origins and roots of Tusker.
The taste of African spirit can inspire you going forwards, by re-connecting you with your roots. As the old proverb goes, ‘to know where you are going, you must first know where you have come from’. Tusker drinkers see the traditions, beliefs and cultures of their roots as the springboard for inspiration. They are full of optimism; focused on looking forwards, not backwards. Today’s triumphs are born out of and inspired by where we have come from – Tusker. Refresh Your Roots.
For consumers who are truly nationalistic, brand TUSKER is the beer that provides an everlasting bond of deep, natural friendship with their countrymen because only TUSKER Lager uniquely represents a true and refreshing spirit of national heritage
Tusker Lager is a medium beer with an alcohol content of 4.2% "

Taste - Clean, Crisp and nice bready malt background. Best enjoyed at sunset while watching a pride of lions.

At the Safari Lodge we also tasted the following (very little difference in taste for the Pilsners, we did a blind side by side test)

Pilsner (great creative name)

Guiness (made in Kenya) - It is the Foreign Extra Stout version.

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