Statistically, Ugandans are one of the heaviest drinking African nations. If you’ve ever tasted Ugandan Waragi from a plastic sachet, or the interestingly named ‘Legitimate Whisky’, you would think they were mad. Thankfully they brew a drinkable beer… though I must say I’m always confused why I’m presented with the question “Would you like it cold?” every time I order one. “No thanks, I’ll have the one you left in the sun over there” said no one ever.
Nile Special (5.6%) – One of the things I was most looking forward to about returning to Uganda: Icy Nile Specials in the equatorial heat. Refreshing, strong and flavourful. Brewed at the source of the Nile River it is known as the “True Reward from the Source” and it’s catchphrase “You’ve Earned It!” appeals to me greatly. Every day achievements make me remember that I’ve earned myself a Nile, from learning a new word in Luganda, not dying in a bus crash, or not contracting malaria. A worthy heavy lager.
Castle Milk Stout (6.0%) – Technically a South African beer, but it’s brewed in Uganda (and I bloody well like it), so it’s getting a mention. A simple tasting stout which doesn’t have a particularly strong nose or flavour but has a great creaminess. Extremely sessionable!
Pilsner (5.5%) – Terrible label and advertising, but more drinkable than some of the bigger names on the market, namely Club and Bell. It looks and tastes like a no-name Aldi Eastern-Euro beer. One of those budget options which pleasantly surprises you by not tasting like goat piss, but then leaves you feeling abused in the morning.
Club Pilsener (4.5%) – Crisp, clean pilsener made with Saaz hops. Probably the only beer in Africa with a transparency policy on hops, let alone ingredients. It’s not bad, just a little bit dull. Tastes a lot lighter than it should.
Nile Gold Crystal Malt (4.8%) – Watery, easy to drink for the strength, but nothing fantastic. A hangover beer at best. Doesn’t come in large bottles as far as I can tell so what’s the point?
Bell Lager (4.0%) – An inoffensive yet boring watery lager with almost nothing going for it which is advertised like an NFL franchise “Join the Bell Nation!”. This exists solely for when you have had too many Nile Specials the day before and need something to ease yourself back into it. If ‘The Bell Nation’ were a real place it would be a cross between Adelaide, Australia and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. You wouldn’t bother to go there.
The next beer update will be from Rwanda, a country whose beers I know absolutely nothing about. Adventure!