There are primarily two beers here in DRC:
- Primus — This beer is actually brewed here in Kisangani and, it has been told to my by many people, is quite popular throughout many parts of Africa. It’s a sweeter tasting lager and comes off a bit too fruity for my taste. Our friend Hannes swears that Primus is better everywhere else, and recently verified this on a trip to Eastern Congo where, he says, it tasted fantastic. Our reasoning for this is that in Kisangani the beer is too fresh, and what it needs is a mixture of bottle shock from the transportation and ageing. In any case, it’s a light lager of about 4% alcohol in a .75 liter bottle. It costs about $1 – $1.5 / bottle.
- Miitzig: This is another light lager brewed in Kinshasa. The company is owned by Heineken, which shows as it seems to be a poor Heineken ripoff (Note: Heineken is not high on my list of beers anyway, though it’s quite delicious in the Netherlands). This was my beer of choice here, as it at least has a hint of bitter in it, though the dream of any taste of hops is hopeless here. Like Primus, it has about the same alcohol content and comes in the same .75 liter bottles. It costs about $2 / bottle.
I must include a note on bottles. Here, you must purchase a case of 12 bottles for $20, then they charge you to fill them up each time, though they actually swap them out for new bottles that have been cleaned and refilled. There are a few problems with this system:
- Bottles which chip or break are rejected, so you must care for your bottles.
- Bottles may not be fully cleaned, of someone might have left something in the bottle: Example – We found a straw in Beau’s Primus bottle on Sunday. Fun times.
So, I’ve basically decided to give up drinking the beer here, at least for a while. Two weeks of this stuff and all I ever really feel is bloated and full. Since there aren’t many other options when it comes to alcohol, I might have to go sober a bit or pay a premium for hard alcohol, but the money I save on the crappy beer will easily make up for that.