Beer Review: Malawi

Ahhhhh Malawi, the unexpected home of Danish piss Carlsberg. They love it here, but they love the old advertising slogan even more. I even saw a school whose motto was “Probably one of the best schools in Malawi”. At first you despair, how am I going to survive on nothing but Carlsberg for a month!?!?! Then you discover Shake-Shake, and you are eternally indebted to those enterprising Danes. Malawi truly is home to the worst beer in the entire world, read on to see why.

Kuche Kuche (3.7%) – Like everything, made by Carlsberg. It’s name translates to “All Night/Until the Dawn” in the local Chichewa language, which in hindsight explains the sunrise like label. Mowa Wathu Wathu means “Our Own Beer”, or in cynical terms, “Carlsberg for locals who think Carlsberg is too foreign”. The best thing about this beer is the size of the bottle, at 630ml it means almost half as many bar trips than if you’re drinking Greens. It’s drinkable, but you begin to hate it quite quickly.

Carlsberg (4.7%) – Affectionately known as a ‘Green’. It’s stronger than your standard European Carlsberg, but tastes pretty similar (see bland). Spending a month in Malawi left me well and truly sick to death of this beer, and it’s one of the better options. Carlsberg seem to have cornered the beer market in Malawi, and we heard stories of sketchy business that goes on to try to keep SAB Miller out. Malawi has been brewing Carlsberg ever since a Danish Foreign Minister visited during the independence celebrations and discovered that Shake-Shake is well and truly fucked.
malawi beers
Carlsberg Stout (4.7%) – This essentially tastes like a Green with a heaping of chemical caramel dumped in it. It’s pretty nasty, but good to be able to switch things up when you are bored of everything else. Goes well at room temperature out of a coffee cup on those mornings where you’ve already decided where your day is headed… Boozetown.

Carlsberg Chill (4.0%) – I’m not really sure what this is supposed to be, maybe a Carlsberg version of the whole Crystal Malt trend that African breweries are obsessed with? It’s the same price as a Green, a little less strong, and a little less flavoursome. The advertising I saw leads me to believe that maybe it’s targeted at women? Nobody really seemed to be drinking it based on the fact that every bar fridge with a dedicated shelf was always full. It’s not different enough to a Green to give you a break from the taste, so I don’t see the point of this.

Carlsberg Special Brew (5.7%) – Not nearly as strong as the 9% UK version of this homeless man’s beer that I’m used to, but it somehow tastes just as rough. I just don’t know how they do it. The words “Special Brew” are enough to instil fear in most, and you wouldn’t be wrong to avoid this.

Chibuku Shake-Shake (?.?%) – If this is beer, then I’m the president of Malawi. There isn’t much that I have regretted drinking in my life, but if I was keeping a list this would reign supreme at the top for evermore. My tasting notes include: stale beer, off-milk, rotting bananas and decomposing grass clippings, and the consistency of a thick smoothie laced with lashings of sand. Unpleasantly gritty. After you manage to swallow the liquid component, the grit seems to somehow stay stuck to every surface of the inside of your mouth. You almost need to chew this stuff. I could only manage a couple of mouthfuls before spitting it out and emptying the carton down the sink. That’s right it comes in a carton. There is also no alcohol percentage listed on the carton because it varies from batch to batch and it increases with time after being packaged. Don’t touch this Sorghum + Maize sludge!

That’s all for this edition, next time I’ll be showcasing whatever it is that the Zambians drink. Hopefully not Shake-Shake… here is a bonus video of me drinking it for the first time:

Posted from Chembe, Southern Region, Malawi.

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