The wonderful thing about Ugandan beer is the variety to choose from. If your taste buds are the kind that are fully charged and raving to go ... you will certainly enjoy the rounds before you settle for your favourite.
Majority is malt and sweet - apart from the stouts of course (Guinness is the familiar one here). The common variation is with the alcohol content rather than the taste - at least for many Ugandans! Otherwise, some will stick with a particular brand to identify with a section of society and/ or belong.
Make no mistake! Ugandans love their beer - just like statistics have shown, Uganda consumes the most Alcohol in Africa and only comes in at number 8 in the world just ahead of Germany and Australia. Of course the Brits and Russians are in a different league!
A lot of this could be down to the fact that Ugandan beer can be bought not just in proper designated bars, but in shops, gas stations, canteens in public places - anywhere, often with no restrictions on time and by any one.
Alcohol is used by many Ugandans to overcome their reserve - a worry in itself! ... but perhaps they have more to worry about than the drinking. And so the pubs and nightclubs is where the theatre of life plays out; where deals are struck, relationships begin and end, scores are settled and much more ...
Just a pick of Ugandan Beers
In many ways, Ugandan beer is the epitome of celebration - at weddings and parties and in the pubs with friends.
In addition to Ugandan beer, 'Uganda Waragi' (which is the properly distilled branded gin) is an household name. The gin has local variations of it that you should be wary of ... and not just for the difference in alcoholic content (for some you might never even tell), but the collection of names too that are closely related; 'tyson waragi', 'dollar gin', 'best waragi' and more ...
... And although some Ugandans would prefer a glass of 'dry' gin - yes, dry! - 'Gin and tonic' is not a common thing and a bit of a luxury for the top end, beer remains the number one beverage - at least for the working class. The low income section of the society embrace the cheap variations of the potent gin.
WINE? No! Very expensive, foreign and for the rich! However, you don't have to bring some with you because you can quite easily find some good wines in the super markets here... and some sections of Ugandans are starting to get into the wine habit.
Typical Traditional Cuisine with a Cold Ugandan Beer - Photo by Vince Crawley
The next time you are served with some lovely ugandan cuisine, be sure to ask for a cold refreshing Ugandan beer - you will love it!
Right! And for the long awaited, here is some Ugandan beer vocabulary - Just a mini-primer;
... But only if you promise to drink wisely and responsibly.
I will let you do the sampling and the rest of the discoveries ...
I am told, it's got the authentic taste of a lager and comes in 500mls bottles and 300mls cans with 5% alc.
Nile Special lager;
Quite tasty, not too heavy but definitely not light with 5.6% alc. It comes in 500mls bottles.
Probably my favourite, but don't trust my buds. Usually referred to as Uganda's heritage premium lager, It's light and probably tastes similar to a Fosters. It stands at 4% alc and comes in 500mls bottles and 300mls cans.
Club Pilsner lager;
Also known as 'club', catch phrase is 'tastefully different' - I've never tried it. Comes in 500mls bottles with 4.5% alc.
TUSKER Malt lager;
The best choice and combination of hops and water - so they say! Surprised at how this has taken Uganda by storm. It comes in 330mls green bottles with 4.2% alc. I have tried this one and it's quite good actually ...
Senator Extra Lager;
'The taste of our land' - whatever that means at 6% alc, I don't know! I will leave that to you. I am told, its naming is synonymous with Obama becoming Senator back in 2004. Let me know how you find it. Comes in 500mls bottles.
This is the sorghum beer - brewed with Ugandan sorghum. At 6.5% alc, it tastes quite light - can't tell how. Tends to be cheaper than the other beers - probably because of the locally produced sorghum rather than the imported hops. Comes in 500mls bottles.
This list of Ugandan beers will go on and on - Oh boy! I have not even mentioned Chairman's ESB (ESB for Extra Strong Brew) - at 7% alc, its perhaps the strongest on the market. You've got to be strong otherwise it will do your head in.
There are lots more out there, Sample them; Guinness, Nile Gold, Moonberg lager ...
Here is some good-to-know stuff!
Very often, when you buy beer in a local corner shop, you will pay for the beer but also leave a deposit for the bottle as an incentive to return the bottle. The bottles are returned to the breweries, washed and reused - very environmentally pleasant!
Hangover cure: Glass of cold milk? yack! no. Not when you also have a pounding headache. Probably a glass of cold water will do - but shortly before you go off to bed. Luwombo (a traditional dish of meat cooked in banana leaves) is the winning formula - try it!
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