Something's brewing in the MidEast! Meet the Muslim-majority region's most drunk beers

Published March 31st, 2015 - 14:40 GMT

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Who would’a thunk it? The region most synonymous with the piety (and sobriety!) of Islam also has a robust beer culture. Wherever you call home in the MENA region, there’s a local brew that’s got your name on it.

With our notoriously hot weather and the eye-watering taxes slapped on imported spirits, suds are becoming increasingly the go-to beverage of choice.But when the booze-barons at VinePair recently looked into the world’s favorite brews, they gave the Middle East a bit of a blow-off. So Al Bawaba decided to "hop" on the beer-wagon to give you an insider's look at the region’s most popular brews Continue reading below »

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A website dedicated to sharing info on wine, beer and spirits recently released an infographic showing the most popular beers around the planet - at least where keg parties are legal!  But VinePair skipped a few of our Middle Eastern neighbors where hot weather and high taxes make brews increasingly the go-to beverage of choice.
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Image 1 of 11:  1 / 11A website dedicated to sharing info on wine, beer and spirits recently released an infographic showing the most popular beers around the planet - at least where keg parties are legal! But VinePair skipped a few of our Middle Eastern neighbors where hot weather and high taxes make brews increasingly the go-to beverage of choice.

Enlarge
The French brought beer-making to Morocco in the 1900’s and now several home-brews are sold in this Muslim state. Morocco’s not so strict about alcohol - non-Muslims can buy heavily-taxed booze, including bottled beer. Flag wins the popular vote, but pricier Casablanca is sold in the Morocco pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida!
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Image 2 of 11:  2 / 11The French brought beer-making to Morocco in the 1900’s and now several home-brews are sold in this Muslim state. Morocco’s not so strict about alcohol - non-Muslims can buy heavily-taxed booze, including bottled beer. Flag wins the popular vote, but pricier Casablanca is sold in the Morocco pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida!

Enlarge
Algeria’s Tango Brewery in Rouiba, 30 km from Algiers, has operated since 2001 and is now producing the nation’s leading mainstream beer brand. The Algerian beer market is growing at about 10% annually with per capita consumption at a modest 3.2 liters each year. (About the daily per capita dose in Dublin on any given St. Patrick’s Day).
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Image 3 of 11:  3 / 11Algeria’s Tango Brewery in Rouiba, 30 km from Algiers, has operated since 2001 and is now producing the nation’s leading mainstream beer brand. The Algerian beer market is growing at about 10% annually with per capita consumption at a modest 3.2 liters each year. (About the daily per capita dose in Dublin on any given St. Patrick’s Day).

Enlarge
Comments on Tunisian travel blogs are rife with complaints of watered-down booze. Celtia beer is served up (weakly!) at most Tunisian hotels, the pale yellow liquid is commonly dissed by association with another amber fluid! Travelers suggest you witness the bottle being opened before your eyes to ensure best drinking experience.
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Image 4 of 11:  4 / 11Comments on Tunisian travel blogs are rife with complaints of watered-down booze. Celtia beer is served up (weakly!) at most Tunisian hotels, the pale yellow liquid is commonly dissed by association with another amber fluid! Travelers suggest you witness the bottle being opened before your eyes to ensure best drinking experience.

Enlarge
Drink like an Egyptian? Allegedly introduced by the god Osiris, beer has been a staple of the Egyptian diet since antiquity. The nation boasts some brands of beer that’ have been produced in Egypt for 100 years! Stella is the favorite label, manufactured in Egypt since the 1800’s, and now available in three varieties.
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Image 5 of 11:  5 / 11Drink like an Egyptian? Allegedly introduced by the god Osiris, beer has been a staple of the Egyptian diet since antiquity. The nation boasts some brands of beer that’ have been produced in Egypt for 100 years! Stella is the favorite label, manufactured in Egypt since the 1800’s, and now available in three varieties.

Enlarge
Saudi youth are strongly influenced by Western lifestyles, including those depicted in drinks advertising.  They swig non-alcohol beer to simulate the real deal. The fizzy drinks are pitched as being stylish, sophisticated and daringly social- fruity Moussy is the most popular non-alcoholic brew in KSA. Consumption increases 15% annually!
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Image 6 of 11:  6 / 11Saudi youth are strongly influenced by Western lifestyles, including those depicted in drinks advertising. They swig non-alcohol beer to simulate the real deal. The fizzy drinks are pitched as being stylish, sophisticated and daringly social- fruity Moussy is the most popular non-alcoholic brew in KSA. Consumption increases 15% annually!

Enlarge
Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, opened an ale factory in Ankara, but beer has been drunk in Anatolia since the Sumerians. Bomonti was the nation’s first big beer producer pouring out 1.2 billion liters in 1894, rising eight-fold in the next 20 years. But the best-selling Turkish beer is Efes Pilsen, even though the national tipple is rakı.
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Image 7 of 11:  7 / 11Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, opened an ale factory in Ankara, but beer has been drunk in Anatolia since the Sumerians. Bomonti was the nation’s first big beer producer pouring out 1.2 billion liters in 1894, rising eight-fold in the next 20 years. But the best-selling Turkish beer is Efes Pilsen, even though the national tipple is rakı.

Enlarge
Iran’s first beers date to 3500 BC and there’s evidence of long-term beer-swilling throughout the Persian Empire. The 1979 Revolution rendered everything alcoholic illegal and punishable by Islamic law, inciting a boom in non-alcoholic varieties with Delster Light leading the pack. There is a healthy trade in illegal brew smuggling.
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Image 8 of 11:  8 / 11Iran’s first beers date to 3500 BC and there’s evidence of long-term beer-swilling throughout the Persian Empire. The 1979 Revolution rendered everything alcoholic illegal and punishable by Islamic law, inciting a boom in non-alcoholic varieties with Delster Light leading the pack. There is a healthy trade in illegal brew smuggling.

Enlarge
Inexplicably, the next 3 nations didn’t make the Vinepair list! Jordan’s fave tipple is Amstel, followed by powerful Petra (8% ABV!). If a crawl around the Nabatean ruins didn't knock you off your feet, a few cans of this beer will. Not boozy enough? Crack open a bottle of Petra Premium - it packs a liver-crushing 10% ABV.
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Image 9 of 11:  9 / 11Inexplicably, the next 3 nations didn’t make the Vinepair list! Jordan’s fave tipple is Amstel, followed by powerful Petra (8% ABV!). If a crawl around the Nabatean ruins didn't knock you off your feet, a few cans of this beer will. Not boozy enough? Crack open a bottle of Petra Premium - it packs a liver-crushing 10% ABV.

Enlarge
It’s hard to score a bottle of Palestine’s Taybeh beyond the West Bank, but this excellent beer is worth the hunt. Created by brewmaster Nadim Khoury, it comes in four varieties: lager, dark ale, amber beer and a non-alcoholic brew. Taybeh is best drunk at the source, at the brewery in the village (35 km from Jerusalem) that bears its name.
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Image 10 of 11:  10 / 11It’s hard to score a bottle of Palestine’s Taybeh beyond the West Bank, but this excellent beer is worth the hunt. Created by brewmaster Nadim Khoury, it comes in four varieties: lager, dark ale, amber beer and a non-alcoholic brew. Taybeh is best drunk at the source, at the brewery in the village (35 km from Jerusalem) that bears its name.

Enlarge
Amazing Almaza self-describes as the king of MidEast brews, a must-try on any trip to Beirut.  Almaza is light with a low 4% alcohol content. It’s best served ice cold at a Hamra Street café on a balmy afternoon. Fans say this Lebanese favorite tastes like a summer night would if you could bottle it, with a side of nuts.
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Image 11 of 11:  11 / 11Amazing Almaza self-describes as the king of MidEast brews, a must-try on any trip to Beirut. Almaza is light with a low 4% alcohol content. It’s best served ice cold at a Hamra Street café on a balmy afternoon. Fans say this Lebanese favorite tastes like a summer night would if you could bottle it, with a side of nuts.

Enlarge

1

A website dedicated to sharing info on wine, beer and spirits recently released an infographic showing the most popular beers around the planet - at least where keg parties are legal!  But VinePair skipped a few of our Middle Eastern neighbors where hot weather and high taxes make brews increasingly the go-to beverage of choice.

Image 1 of 11A website dedicated to sharing info on wine, beer and spirits recently released an infographic showing the most popular beers around the planet - at least where keg parties are legal! But VinePair skipped a few of our Middle Eastern neighbors where hot weather and high taxes make brews increasingly the go-to beverage of choice.

2

The French brought beer-making to Morocco in the 1900’s and now several home-brews are sold in this Muslim state. Morocco’s not so strict about alcohol - non-Muslims can buy heavily-taxed booze, including bottled beer. Flag wins the popular vote, but pricier Casablanca is sold in the Morocco pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida!

Image 2 of 11The French brought beer-making to Morocco in the 1900’s and now several home-brews are sold in this Muslim state. Morocco’s not so strict about alcohol - non-Muslims can buy heavily-taxed booze, including bottled beer. Flag wins the popular vote, but pricier Casablanca is sold in the Morocco pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida!

3

Algeria’s Tango Brewery in Rouiba, 30 km from Algiers, has operated since 2001 and is now producing the nation’s leading mainstream beer brand. The Algerian beer market is growing at about 10% annually with per capita consumption at a modest 3.2 liters each year. (About the daily per capita dose in Dublin on any given St. Patrick’s Day).

Image 3 of 11Algeria’s Tango Brewery in Rouiba, 30 km from Algiers, has operated since 2001 and is now producing the nation’s leading mainstream beer brand. The Algerian beer market is growing at about 10% annually with per capita consumption at a modest 3.2 liters each year. (About the daily per capita dose in Dublin on any given St. Patrick’s Day).

4

Comments on Tunisian travel blogs are rife with complaints of watered-down booze. Celtia beer is served up (weakly!) at most Tunisian hotels, the pale yellow liquid is commonly dissed by association with another amber fluid! Travelers suggest you witness the bottle being opened before your eyes to ensure best drinking experience.

Image 4 of 11Comments on Tunisian travel blogs are rife with complaints of watered-down booze. Celtia beer is served up (weakly!) at most Tunisian hotels, the pale yellow liquid is commonly dissed by association with another amber fluid! Travelers suggest you witness the bottle being opened before your eyes to ensure best drinking experience.

5

Drink like an Egyptian? Allegedly introduced by the god Osiris, beer has been a staple of the Egyptian diet since antiquity. The nation boasts some brands of beer that’ have been produced in Egypt for 100 years! Stella is the favorite label, manufactured in Egypt since the 1800’s, and now available in three varieties.

Image 5 of 11Drink like an Egyptian? Allegedly introduced by the god Osiris, beer has been a staple of the Egyptian diet since antiquity. The nation boasts some brands of beer that’ have been produced in Egypt for 100 years! Stella is the favorite label, manufactured in Egypt since the 1800’s, and now available in three varieties.

6

Saudi youth are strongly influenced by Western lifestyles, including those depicted in drinks advertising.  They swig non-alcohol beer to simulate the real deal. The fizzy drinks are pitched as being stylish, sophisticated and daringly social- fruity Moussy is the most popular non-alcoholic brew in KSA. Consumption increases 15% annually!

Image 6 of 11Saudi youth are strongly influenced by Western lifestyles, including those depicted in drinks advertising. They swig non-alcohol beer to simulate the real deal. The fizzy drinks are pitched as being stylish, sophisticated and daringly social- fruity Moussy is the most popular non-alcoholic brew in KSA. Consumption increases 15% annually!

7

Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, opened an ale factory in Ankara, but beer has been drunk in Anatolia since the Sumerians. Bomonti was the nation’s first big beer producer pouring out 1.2 billion liters in 1894, rising eight-fold in the next 20 years. But the best-selling Turkish beer is Efes Pilsen, even though the national tipple is rakı.

Image 7 of 11Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, opened an ale factory in Ankara, but beer has been drunk in Anatolia since the Sumerians. Bomonti was the nation’s first big beer producer pouring out 1.2 billion liters in 1894, rising eight-fold in the next 20 years. But the best-selling Turkish beer is Efes Pilsen, even though the national tipple is rakı.

8

Iran’s first beers date to 3500 BC and there’s evidence of long-term beer-swilling throughout the Persian Empire. The 1979 Revolution rendered everything alcoholic illegal and punishable by Islamic law, inciting a boom in non-alcoholic varieties with Delster Light leading the pack. There is a healthy trade in illegal brew smuggling.

Image 8 of 11Iran’s first beers date to 3500 BC and there’s evidence of long-term beer-swilling throughout the Persian Empire. The 1979 Revolution rendered everything alcoholic illegal and punishable by Islamic law, inciting a boom in non-alcoholic varieties with Delster Light leading the pack. There is a healthy trade in illegal brew smuggling.

9

Inexplicably, the next 3 nations didn’t make the Vinepair list! Jordan’s fave tipple is Amstel, followed by powerful Petra (8% ABV!). If a crawl around the Nabatean ruins didn't knock you off your feet, a few cans of this beer will. Not boozy enough? Crack open a bottle of Petra Premium - it packs a liver-crushing 10% ABV.

Image 9 of 11Inexplicably, the next 3 nations didn’t make the Vinepair list! Jordan’s fave tipple is Amstel, followed by powerful Petra (8% ABV!). If a crawl around the Nabatean ruins didn't knock you off your feet, a few cans of this beer will. Not boozy enough? Crack open a bottle of Petra Premium - it packs a liver-crushing 10% ABV.

10

It’s hard to score a bottle of Palestine’s Taybeh beyond the West Bank, but this excellent beer is worth the hunt. Created by brewmaster Nadim Khoury, it comes in four varieties: lager, dark ale, amber beer and a non-alcoholic brew. Taybeh is best drunk at the source, at the brewery in the village (35 km from Jerusalem) that bears its name.

Image 10 of 11It’s hard to score a bottle of Palestine’s Taybeh beyond the West Bank, but this excellent beer is worth the hunt. Created by brewmaster Nadim Khoury, it comes in four varieties: lager, dark ale, amber beer and a non-alcoholic brew. Taybeh is best drunk at the source, at the brewery in the village (35 km from Jerusalem) that bears its name.

11

Amazing Almaza self-describes as the king of MidEast brews, a must-try on any trip to Beirut.  Almaza is light with a low 4% alcohol content. It’s best served ice cold at a Hamra Street café on a balmy afternoon. Fans say this Lebanese favorite tastes like a summer night would if you could bottle it, with a side of nuts.

Image 11 of 11Amazing Almaza self-describes as the king of MidEast brews, a must-try on any trip to Beirut. Almaza is light with a low 4% alcohol content. It’s best served ice cold at a Hamra Street café on a balmy afternoon. Fans say this Lebanese favorite tastes like a summer night would if you could bottle it, with a side of nuts.

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So kick back, crack open a cold one and slake your thirst with this journey through the Middle East’s most drunk beers.

 

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