Beer in Africa: Tusker Premium Lager

Recently a friend of mine traveled to Kenya with Build Africa, an organization that works in rural African areas to help create education and income opportunities. Part of her trip included a several day hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro, culminating (in my mind at least) with a few beers at a local watering hole. Knowing the love that my friends and I have for unique beer, she smuggled a few bottles back in her socks.

Tusker is like every other industrial lager in that it's light bodied, crisp, low on taste, and widely available. The other common factor is that it's highly drinkable. I think it's safe to say that most places in Africa are pretty darn hot, and after hiking the tallest mountain on the continent I'd want something light and refreshing. Enter Tusker.

I can't say that this is the best beer I've ever had, but it isn't the worst either. It doesn't have any flaws, there aren't any off-flavors, and since it was smuggled back directly from it's origin, it's actually very fresh. The only issue is that it's unremarkable in light of all the amazing craft beer here in the States. It is interesting to see how mass-produced lagers aren't just an American tradition, but all over the world people are drinking essentially the same kind of beer, even if the labels are different.

The perception might be that Africa is slightly backwards, a "third world" continent. But Tusker is an African-made beer, brewed and distributed by Africans. It's obvious that they know how to brew a good, clean beer, and they can package and distribute that beer just as well as any of the "big guys" here in the US. While politics and poverty might still be the country's image, I at least know that if I find myself there, I can get a good cold one.