A Beerfull Journey, And a Timeless National Traditional Brew
My relationship with beers is complicated. It's been on and off, on and off since I can remember. I could safely say most times I'm cheating with them though, as I'm mostly a liquor person.
But how exactly did we get here? I hear you ask.
Well grab a chair, let your hair down and get to sipping for I have a tale to tell.
Pic taken by friend, yes I know I'm just supposed to use my pics but, too clean not to use.😅
A Not so Brief History:
I only started casually sipping in 2011 during my off year after high school. As 2012 came swinging in full force, I started actually drinking as the hiatus had gotten too boring and monotone. Then in November that same year, I moved to Nairobi for my first university stint, where I'd eventually turn up the ante and go berzerk.
Now, for those of you who don't know, Kenyans love their parties and more importantly, don't discriminate when it comes to their alcohol, 2 facts I'd always thought were exaggerated until I got there and learned the hard way.
Though I was and still am primarily a liquor person, it was only a matter of time until I jumped on the brew train.
It was inevitable really, not only was I chilling a lot with Kenyans, but I was also always with a few Burundians and if there is a population that can give Kenyans a run for their money when it comes to beers, it's Burudians.
It's actually a well known fact that a Burundian shouldn't go a full day without his cold one.
Sure, there are exceptions to the rule but it seems those exceptions are always avoiding me.
Seriously though, no matter where we were or what we were doing, somehow I always found myself with a beer in my hand, when I would be with at least one of them. Not like that has changed much, even now when I chill with one no matter how much or little I know them I still find myself with a cold one.
So how would I spend my average day with my fellow Burudians, many of whom lived in a guest house barely 5 minutes from mine?
Well, I'd wake up, and go to class. Come 10 am it was break time, so we'd go grab a beer at Santa Fe, a bar just 1 minute from our school that had become the stomping grounds for my schoolmates and I. The bar in question had relatively cheap beers, and expensive but really good food so we rarely ate there, mostly just sipped.
Lunchtime? We'd go pick up some fast food then go eat it at Santa fe while a chugging a cold one. Yes, we gave them so much business they didn't mind when we brought food from outside, though they'd get momentarily pissed when we'd sneak in liquors. 😂 Still, it was all love at the end of day.
Classes usually ended around 4pm and do you know what was usually the next stop? Ding ding ding! Yup, you guessed it, Santa Fe for one more round, plenty if affordable.
That was during the weekdays. During the weekends we'd usually spend the day at the guest house I mentioned playing video games with 1 or 2 liquor bottles and/or 1 or 2 beer cases by our side. I was mostly liquored up in such moments and yes, video games/drinking games were a thing.
Oh, so you're going out tonight? Come on now you know the drill. First hit Santa Fe for the pre pre drink session, followed by going wherever the pre drink session is happening and then, be on our merry way to the designated party scene for that night, for shenanigans that would sometimes last 2 or 3 days. Man were we crazy!
Ok wait a minute, I'm getting way too sidetracked here. But wait, it's all good for today I got time cuz!
Still, I'll keep it short from now on.
At the the time the beers I would indulge in were Pilsner Ice, which I'm sure most of you are familiar with, and the second was Tusker Lager, an East African made beer, which in most cases was my go to brew.
I don't have too many pictures while in Kenya and even less of beers, I lost most of them. 😭
Pic taken and shared by a friend here.
Still, Tusker is the brew that lightskin arabic guy is holding, I'm the guy photobombing the picture, the two guys in the focus were some more of my closest friends there, and we were at a friend's birthday party. Good times!
Bye bye Nairobi - 2014.
Once I got back home I obviously had to switch beers. And seeing that I was used and prefered alcohol that was strong, I went with Turbo King, a homemade beer. It says it has 7% alcohol but I reckon it's more.
Knowles in my hand, Turbo King in that other dude's hand.
After that phase it was onto the next ones. Mutzig and mostly Skol Malt became my beverages of choice. Both beers were chosen because they're lighter, since in those days I was drinking both beers and liqours almost daily.
Skol Malt, had no front view.
Mutzig has 6% ish alcohol if I recall. Skol Malt says it has 5.3%, I think it's less since I could drink 5 before I started feeling properly tipsy.
P.S: Mutzig is pretty much recognized as the national beer.
P.S-2: The first pic in this post was taken during that period. He's really into beers.
Mutzig in green bottle, Knowles right in front of me.
Next up, I moved to Knowles and it's alleged 5 % alcohol, and am still on that tip. From the end of 2016 and until just 2 months ago, I drink it like once or twice per month, sometimes none, the same goes with liquors.
Yeah I rarely drink these days though when I get to it, I commit and make sure to get hammered!
Matter of fact until the lockdown started at the beginning of March, I hadn't drank since January. Had I known what was coming for all of us I probably would have gone back to 2016 Ange.😂
Fun Fact: The Knowles beer is actually called Primus but was nicknamed after a Rwandese female artist called Butera Knowles. Some would say it's because she has won the yearly concert/contest sponsored by the Primus label on a few occasions I believe, but then again we like naming our beers after our female artists so who knows.
I.e: Skol Malt is also called Teta.
The Lockdown Effect:
The lockdown for sure hasn't been fun for all 7 billion of us but somehow we have to cope right? From tv shows to mini workouts to hostile takeovers we somehow we have to keep ourselves entertained.
Obviously we also can't stay sober all the time so on top of the now finished coffee, my dad and I usually share a beer or 2 during the evening.
Usually it's the canned Akarusho we indulge in. It's a homemade beer that's derived from a traditional brew whose recipe has been passed down from generation to generation called Urwagwa.
Now, for the sake of not making this post any longer I won't be going into it's his history or how it's made, but you can read all about it here if you feel like it.
So long story short, the can above contains the modernized urwagwa with it's relatively diluted 14% alcohol. Still, as diluted as may be, it still has quite the kick to it though old timers say it's nowhere as good as the one made the traditional way.
Unless stated otherwise, all pictures pictures were taken by me or at least by my phone for me.
Sure I mostly prefer to indulge in liquors but on the rare occasions I'm just sipping a quick one and don't have time on my hands, or when I'm drinking with my dad, I'll take brew please. Plus I don't mind experimenting, if there's something new to try, odds are I'll take you on that offer specially if it's free. lol
Like a few months back when a friend's cousin came back to Rwanda with some Belgian beers and invited us to try them out. I of course couldn't miss such an occasion, and bolted there. I even wrote about the experience under the #beersaturday tag and if you just so happen to be bored you can reread it here.
Also, speaking of experimenting, if you ever happen to come visit my country feel free to bring some of your country's delicacies so we can kick it and compare each other's national beverages. I'll also make sure to buy some from my side, just let me know a few days in advance so I can get my finances in order. But until then;
cross post from my hive account.