Monthly Archives: April 2011

Drink like an Egyptian

Did you know that beer was the first alcoholic drink ever discovered?  It was discovered in mesopotamia (by accident) way back in the day and was widely consumed by ancient Eyptians for both sustenance and good times. I learned about these things in an interesting book called A History of the World in Six Glasses, which also explains how the British became drug dealers in their quest for tea and how Coke used to be poison.  I recently visited Egypt, mostly to see the ancient stuff, and was disappointed to find that modern Egypt no longer considers beer an important drink.

Pyramids and sphinx in egypt

Typical Egypt picture, proof I was there

Being a Muslim country, alcohol consumption in Egypt is generally only an option for foreigners and tourists via nicer hotels and restaurants.  Luckily, thanks to the British and their imperial greed, Egypt has a bit of a legacy when it comes to beer consumption.  I say luckily because there were times when I sure needed a beer.  Egypt is in rough shape as a country and is also largely economically dependant on tourism.  Due to recent events, the tourists have been staying away.  I felt like we were the only two tourists in Egypt not part of a tour group.  As such, we received the brunt of the local attention in the form of hassle.  I can’t really complain, having been blessed with western privilege, but I sure can say that a nice cold beer after a long, hot, hassle filled day sure hit the spot.

Egypt has a few staple beers, all lagers, that we found almost everywhere we went.  Stella, not Stella Artois, and Sakara Gold are two such beers, which are essentially Heineken rebranded.  There was also a brand called Sphinx, though my googling hasn’t let me know who makes it.  In any case, Egyptian beer can be summed up as boring macro lager, which in Egypt is the sweetest tasting nectar of the Gods.  When there’s no alcohol to be found in a hot and irritating Egypt, Heineken tastes ever so good.  Here are some picture of our Egypt beer experiences:

Egyptian Sphinx Beer

Sphinx beer and a sunset, not too shabby

Beer on an Aswan patio

If I find beer this relaxing, am I an alcoholic?

Stella beer in Luxor

Stella relieved Rachel from the heat in Luxor