African Beer: The Grand Journey through Africa’s Outstanding Beer Brands [Hidden Gems]

Take a journey with us as we explore the vibrant world of African beers. From traditional brewing methods rooted in local ingredients to the exciting craft beer movement sweeping the continent, Africa’s beer scene is as diverse as its landscapes.

Get ready to discover regional favorites, iconic brands, and unique honey beers that will open your eyes to the rich culture and flavors of Africa. Cheers!

Short Summary

  • Explore the unique African beer landscape full of traditional and modern brews.
  • Discover regional favorites like Star Beer, Tusker & Castle Lager plus craft beers from across Africa.
  • Sample iconic African beers while learning about responsible consumption at festivals & events!

African Beer Landscape

Africa’s beer landscape is a fascinating mix of traditional and modern brewing techniques, with popular local ingredients playing a starring role.

You’ll find everything from thick brown millet beer brewed using age-old methods to pale lagers produced by multinational breweries like Carlsberg and Heineken.

As we travel through Africa, we’ll come across East African Breweries, known for their flagship beer, Tusker, and Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited, where the popular Mosi Lager is produced.

In many African countries, national pride is intertwined with local beer brands, making each brew an integral part of the country’s identity.

Traditional Brewing Methods

African traditional brewing methods often use local ingredients like sorghum malt, maize, and millet, resulting in unique and indigenous beers. One such example is the thick brown millet beer, which has a distinctive flavor profile and texture.

Chibuku Shake Shake, a commercial umqombothi, is a favorite African beer brewed using a mix of sorghum and maize. Popular in countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, Chibuku Shake Shake offers a strong yeast flavor with a lemony kick.

Drinking Chibuku Shake. Shake involves slurping up any sediment left at the bottom of the container, making it a unique and memorable experience.

Modern Breweries

Modern breweries have made a significant impact on the African beer landscape, bringing new brewing techniques and a wider selection of beers to the continent.

From Algeria’s Tango Biere with its grainy malts and mild hops to Mauritius’ Phoenix Beer and Madagascar’s Three Horses Beer, the influence of modern breweries is evident across Africa.

The Carlsberg brewery in Malawi, established in 1966 after a Danish Foreign Minister’s visit, is another example of modern breweries transforming the African beer scene.

Today, Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited produces Green and Brown beers, showcasing the variety and innovation brought by modern breweries.

Regional Favorites

As we delve deeper into Africa’s beer scene, we’ll explore regional favorites that showcase the unique flavors and styles found across the continent.

From the hoppy Star Beer in West Africa to the crisp Tusker in East Africa and the refreshing Castle Lager in Southern Africa, each region has its own distinct brews waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re a fan of light lagers or dark lager ales, there are plenty of options for you.

West Africa

West Africa is home to a variety of popular beers, including Ghana’s Star Beer and Club Premium Lager. In Sierra Leone, Star Beer is the top domestic brew and a favourite African beer for many, while Nigeria boasts a selection of popular beers like Star, Gulder, Heineken, and One Lager.

The craft beer scene is also emerging in West Africa, with Ghana’s Django Brothers leading the way as a craft brewery. This growing movement is bringing new flavors and styles to the region, making West African beer culture even more diverse and exciting.

East Africa

In East Africa, the beer landscape features favorites like Kenya’s Tusker, Ethiopia’s St. George Beer, and Uganda’s Nile Special.

Tusker, known for its smooth and refreshing taste, has become an iconic symbol of Kenyan pride, while St. George Beer and Nile Special showcase the unique flavors of their respective countries.

Rwanda’s Primus Beer and Virunga are also popular choices in the region, as are Tanzania’s light and fizzy lagers. These regional favorites highlight the diversity and creativity of East African brewers, offering beer lovers an exciting range of options to explore.

Southern Africa

Southern Africa boasts a variety of beers, such as Zambia’s Mosi Lager, Zimbabwe’s Zambezi, and South Africa’s Castle Lager. These beers showcase the flavors and styles unique to their respective countries, with Mosi Lager becoming a national symbol of pride in Zambia.

Namibia’s Tafel Lager, Windhoek Lager, and Windhoek Light are also popular choices in Southern Africa, reflecting the region’s diverse beer landscape.

These brews offer a taste of the unique flavors and brewing techniques found throughout the region, making Southern African beers a must-try for any beer enthusiast.

Iconic African Beers

Now that we’ve explored regional favorites, let’s take a moment to appreciate iconic African beers that have gained international recognition and popularity.

From South Africa’s Castle Lager to Kenya’s Tusker and Namibia’s Windhoek Lager, these beers showcase the best of African brewing and have become beloved symbols of their respective countries.

These national beer varieties are enjoyed around the world, and their popularity is a testament to the quality of beer.

Castle Lager

Castle Lager, South Africa’s most-consumed beer, is a refreshing traditional lager with pale lager characteristics, first brewed in Johannesburg in 1895 by Charles Glass.

With a light, crisp flavor and a hint of sweetness, it’s no wonder Castle Lager has become a favorite among South Africans and beer lovers worldwide.

Today, Castle Lager is not only popular in South Africa, but also enjoyed across the continent and beyond. Its widespread appeal is a testament to the quality and flavor that has made this beer an iconic African brand.


Kenya’s most popular beer, Tusker, is more than just a refreshing brew – it’s a symbol of national pride. First brewed in 1922 during British Colonial rule, Tusker was named in memory of its founder, Charles Hurst, who tragically died in an elephant hunting accident.

Tusker is made with 100% African ingredients sourced locally and is brewed using a mix of classic and modern brewing methods. As a representation of Kenya’s independence and resilience, Tusker has become a beloved beer for Kenyans and beer enthusiasts around the world.

Windhoek Lager

Windhoek Lager, a European Pale Lager style beer, hails from Namibia and is brewed by Namibia Breweries Limited. Known for its hoppy flavor and crisp aftertaste, Windhoek Lager is a refreshing choice for beer lovers.

The brewing process of Windhoek Lager involves a traditional two-step method, first mashing and boiling the malt with hops to create the wort, followed by fermentation with yeast.

This classic approach to brewing beer, combined with its distinctive flavor, has helped Windhoek Lager gain popularity both within Africa and beyond.

Craft Beer Movement in Africa

The craft beer movement in Africa is rapidly growing, with over 200 breweries in South Africa alone. Pioneering African craft breweries like Clarens Brewery, Zwakala Brewery, and Eko Brewery are using traditional African ingredients and brewing techniques to create innovative and unique flavors.

Let’s take a closer look at this exciting trend and how it’s changing the beer scene across the continent.

Craft Breweries

Notable African craft breweries, such as Clarens Brewery, Black Eagle Brewing Company, Zwakala Brewery, Inland Microbrewery, and Karoo Craft Breweries, are redefining the beer landscape on the continent.

South Africa took the lead with Mitchell’s Brewery opening in 1983, and since then, the craft beer scene has been flourishing.

One standout example is Flying Dodo Brewing Company in Mauritius, which showcases the innovation and creativity found in African craft breweries.

With offerings like fruit-infused beers, honey beers, and other experimental brews, these breweries are expanding the horizons of African beer culture.

International-Style Beers

The rise of international-style beers being brewed in Africa is also changing the beer landscape. Breweries like SABMiller, Heineken, and Diageo in Africa are producing IPAs, porters, and Belgian-style beers, introducing new flavors and styles to the market.

These international-style beers are gaining popularity and becoming more widely available, allowing beer enthusiasts to explore a wider variety of flavors and styles without leaving the continent.

The combination of traditional African beers and international-style offerings is creating a diverse and exciting beer scene that is sure to entice drinkers worldwide.

Honey Beers of Africa

A unique and traditional aspect of African beer culture is honey beer. Found in countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea, honey beers like Tej/Mes are similar to mead, but classified as honey wine.

These honey beers are brewed using traditional methods, boiling the honey and adding spices and herbs to create a distinct flavor profile.

Honey beers hold cultural significance in Africa, often served at special events and celebrations. Their unique taste and strong connection to African heritage make them a must-try for anyone looking to explore the diverse world of African beers.

Beer Festivals and Events

Across Africa, numerous beer festivals and events celebrate the continent’s rich beer culture. Africa Brew in Johannesburg, BeerEx Africa in Cape Town, and the Clarens Craft Beer Festival in South Africa are just a few examples of events that showcase the diverse range of beers from all over the continent.

These festivals and events not only offer an opportunity to sample a variety of African beers, but also provide a platform for brewers to share their knowledge, passion, and creativity.

Attendees can experience the unique flavors and techniques that make African beer culture so vibrant and exciting.

Pairing African Beers with Food

Pairing African beers with traditional African cuisine can enhance the dining experience and bring out the delicious flavors of both the food and the beer. Grilled meats, burgers, hotdogs, fried fish, and pork chops are all great choices to accompany your favorite African brews.

By matching beers that complement the flavors of the food, you can create a memorable and enjoyable meal that showcases the best of African beer and cuisine.

So, why not raise a glass of your favorite African beer and toast to the perfect pairing!

Responsible Beer Consumption in Africa

It’s important to drink beer responsibly in Africa to help reduce the negative impacts of alcohol abuse, such as health issues, violence, and social problems. Different countries may have varying guidelines, but the overall message is clear: moderation is key when consuming alcohol.

By promoting responsible beer consumption, African communities can work together to address the issues associated with alcohol abuse and create a healthier, safer environment for everyone.

So, as you enjoy the diverse range of African beers, remember to drink responsibly and enjoy the flavors and experiences that this fascinating continent has to offer.


From traditional brewing methods and regional favorites to the growing craft beer movement, Africa’s beer landscape is as diverse and captivating as the continent itself.

As you explore the unique flavors, styles, and stories behind iconic African beers, remember to enjoy responsibly and appreciate the rich culture and heritage that make African beer truly special.

Cheers to the vibrant world of African beer!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular African beer?

Castle Lager is the most popular African beer, a pale lager with a refreshing taste that’s enjoyed by many in South Africa.

What are the traditional beers in Africa?

Traditional beers in Africa vary by location, with chibuku, umqombothi, utshwala, joala, doro, shakparo, chang’aa, khadi, hydromel, araque, katila, and talla being among the most popular.

How to make craft beer south africa?

Making craft beer in South Africa is easy, if you follow the six steps of preparing water, mashing grains, sparging wort, boiling wort, adding yeast, and finally, fermentation.

Give it a go!

Which African countries have a growing craft beer movement?

South Africa has been leading the way in the African craft beer scene, with over 200 breweries operating in the country.

Other countries on the continent have started joining the movement, like Nigeria and Kenya.

What are some examples of honey beers in Africa?

Tej/Mes in Ethiopia and Eritrea is a popular honey beer, similar to mead but classified as honey wine.

Kilkenny Honey. Ale from South Africa and Pietra Biere de Miel from Corsica are other examples of African honey beers.

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