Although not regarded as one of the finest beer producers in the world, there are still many types of African beer on offer. Although not widely available in Europe, many of these beers are actually quite good. Indigenous local tribes originally produced beers in Africa, but there are now many larger breweries in operation. Of all the beer producing countries in Africa, the most productive is South Africa.
South African Beer
Although many people are unaware of South African beers, the country is actually a massive force in international brewing. South African Brewing, or SAB, controls much of the market, and also owns brands like Miller Genuine Draft in America, Peroni in Italy and Pilsner Urquell in Czech Republic. The main beer produced by SAB in South Africa is Castle Lager. Castle is a fairly generic lager beer with a light, heady taste. Other notable beers in South Africa include the sweet and malty Castle Milk Stout and Lion lager.
There are a number of interesting beers to be found in the rest of Southern Africa, including Chibuku Shake Shake. This beer is so called because you need to shake the carton before drinking. It is a popular beer in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. One of the most widely acclaimed beers in Southern Africa is Laurentina Clara, produced in Mozambique. It has won a variety of awards, and is an excellent Pilsner lager with a clean and crisp finish. Mozambique also has an excellent award winning dark lager known as Preta.
Eastern Africa isn’t a haven for good beer, although the Kenya Breweries Ltd does produce one of the most popular beers in all of Africa. Regularly fighting with Castle Lager to be the number 1 selling beer in Africa, Tusker Premium is a lager beer produced using equatorial barley. It has a grainy, slightly grassy taste, and has more character than many other African lager beers. There are many other locally produced beers throughout Eastern Africa, although Tusker dominates the market.
Perhaps the most recognisable beer in Africa is Guinness. There are four breweries in Nigeria owned by Guinness, but the stout they produce is quite different from the Irish version. Founded in 1962, the breweries produce Foreign Extra Stout, which uses Guinness concentrate from Dublin mixed with local pale beer. This produces an intensely flavoured stout that is darker and stronger than regular Guinness. At 7.5% ABV, it has a nutty, malty flavour with a somewhat bitter roasted finish. It is popular throughout Africa, as well as African communities throughout the world such as those in the UK. It makes an excellent change from regular Guinness, and although stronger tasting it is by no means overpowering in intensity.
Although African beers are not easily found in other countries, there are some interesting beers to be had if you ever visit the continent. Perhaps some of the most interesting are the locally produced Sorghum grain beers. These beers are quite sour, and have a grainy, mouth clinging texture. Despite this, they can be quite refreshing, and are different from many other beers found in Europe. They are usually produced in small quantities by local breweries, or even by small tribes for their own consumption.