This post is about beer, but first I must briefly digress
You might imagine that such an approach is a totally inappropriate way to determine this, but if you think a bit more deeply you will see that there are lots of similarities between beer drinking and running
So for this race I am starting off at a sprint, but given that this is Kenya vs Ethiopia I expect it to turn into a marathon. As I am the only participant in the race I should win easily, but I fear I will end up dropping out ‘injured and unable to continue’ halfway through - wish me luck!!
Ideally I would have got hold of 8 different bottles to make this a proper 8 lane track race, but I only found one type of beer from each country, so it’s a straight up head to head – there is no hiding place today!!
In Lane 1 we have Tusker Beer, a ‘Finest Quality Lager’ brewed by the East African Breweries Group, from Nairobi, Kenya
In Lane 2 we have St George Beer, a ‘Premium Lager Beer’ brewed by the St George Brewery in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
From the start the Tusker moves into an early lead. It is the first beer to be brewed by the East African Brewing Company (now part of Diageo), back in the 1920s, and is so named because the company founder was killed in an elephant hunting accident
It is a 4.2% pale lager and comes in a very generous 500ml bottle
I like the look of the bottle – the yellow and black go well and I really like the happy-looking elephant on the label. I’ve never been to Kenya, or on safari, but I can totally imagine drinking ice cold bottles of this stuff at a safari camp while looking out over a watering hole at the wildlife
Oh, and the taste – I almost forgot. Well, it’s a pale lager, and so what you are getting here is a beer that tastes like pale lager. It’s not as exciting as all the craft beers that we’re all reviewing on here at the moment, but if I was on safari in Africa - or just in a hotel or bar or restaurant in Nairobi - and it was boiling hot, I would take this beer over the fancy craft beer anyday. Sometimes you just need a freezing cold lager in an iced glass…
Halfway through the first lap, the Tusker is drained and the St George has taken the lead. St George is the patron saint of Ethiopia, and the St George Brewery is Ethiopia’s oldest, having been founded in 1922 (the same year as the East African incidentally)
It’s 4.7% and comes in a ‘standard’ 33cl bottle. It’s another cool-looking bottle – definitely some history there with the picture of St George slaying the dragon. I really like the fact that the bottle looks so different. It seems like a bottle that you would only ever get in some exotic place fan far away – although I write that from the comfort of my flat. Of course it’s a lot smaller than the Tusker, and that’s not good
And the taste – well, there are positives and negatives. On the positive side, it tasted like a nice cold beer, and I like nice cold beer! On the negative side, it has quite an intense malty taste which, for me at least, is a bit much. The next person along may love it, but personally I can’t imagine having more than one or two of them, especially if I was in such a hot country
I don’t find it bad, and I love the fact that I can walk down the road and buy some beer that was brewed in Ethiopia, but at the same time I don’t find it particularly good, and that is perhaps not good enough at this rarefied level of competition!!
Thanks for reading!