Beers of the DRC

Right about now I would kill for an IPA.

There are primarily two beers here in DRC:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Bottles which chip or break are rejected, so you must care for your bottles.
  2. 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.


8 thoughts on “Beers of the DRC

  1. Don’t blame the Primus! The bloating could also be due to the doxycycline you are taking for anti-malarial and the obscene amount of fatty oils in the food you are eating. Cheers!

    • Yeah, I just miss my really strong IPAs. You’re right about the oil in the food. I’ve been cutting back on what I’m eating here a bit as I’ve started to realize it’s got more oil in it than I realize (But that makes it damn delicious). My main issue with the beer is that it’s such a light lager that I’ll go through 4-5 bottles without feeling anything, at which point I’ve drunk like 3 liters of beer — definitely causing my to feel full.

  2. Though the reuse of bottles is not always perfect, I think it’s way better than what we do in America with all the consumption and waste. At least this way they’re actually reusing goods which is the best possible thing environmentally especially in a country with a real way to deal with waste disposal. Stop being so American…it was just a straw 😛

    • I agree. I even liked the system in Russia where we just left our bottles near benches and next to trash cans, that way the old women could come around and collect them for money rather than begging. In America all those bottles go to waste. And in many states it’s too much of a pain in the ass to recycle (Ex. Texas where they charge me for a recycling service!).

  3. Nothing beat a Primus after a hectic 40degree day of outside work with only 35degree water to drink. Nice and cold with the water dripping from the sides ….. pure gift!

  4. Good day. Can anyone tell me why the whiskeys and Vodkas here look like they are knock-offs of the popular brands we know, as well as why the alcohol percent is 40 instead of the 43 I know of. A lot of them even come in 1 litre bottles as well, which I haven’t seen anywhere else in some of the brands.

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