February 4, 2008

'Lusaka's Ditch Flower'

Go for a walk anywhere in Lusaka - even in my yuppie suburb - and you'll invariably come across an empty carton of cheap 'beer' rotting in the ditch.

Owing to the fact that my Zambian friends and colleagues would never touch the stuff and it's only sold in compound areas, I hadn't tried the fabled 'Shake Shake' opaque beer until last night. And soon, provided I can get it back safely, so will you.

Often sold out of a vat in the back of truck, I tried the far less dubious factory-made variety (see picture). For about $2.50, I got four litres in a bag that smelled like stale beer and socks. Not surprising considering the cartons aren't completely sealed; a little hole needs to be left in the top to facilitate escaping gases as a result of the ongoing fermentation process inside. But evidently, this also leads to a little bit of the liquid squirting out from time to time.

And what a liquid it is. Rancidly sour, yet sweet with floating maize meal bits and notes of "sour green apple and barnyard." Stomaching a small glass felt like a Fear Factor triumph.

Read more reviews of 'Chibuku' here. They're appalling. A mouthful is compulsory for attendance at the Importation Party. It is International Beer, after all.

No comments: