Beer TZ

Dar es Salaam Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries


   There is supposedly a law in Tanzania that prohibits the sale of alcohol in bars before 4pm on a weekday (unless it is a pubic holiday when you can buy a beer anytime of day), but this is a law that is almost always ignored, in some bars they openly sell beer well before 4pm. In one bar I can think of I have on more than one occasion had a 9am curer, yet in other bars I’ve only been allowed a sneaky beer as long as I’m drinking out of sight and have been asked to tuck myself away inside a dark corner of a bar instead of outside on a street side terrace; and even on one occasion on a scorching hot day I was asked to drink my bottle of Balimi in a store room that smelt of cat piss.  Bizarrely, the few places that seem to ignore this law seem to be very close to a police station. Maybe it’s because the bar owners are well aware that the local Tanzanian old bill will never cause a problem in their own watering holes!  I’ve been led to believe that if caught drinking out of ours by the gendarmes it is the drinker that would be fined and not the bar owner.


  Legally or otherwise Balimi is my current favourite brew in TZ, it is also one of the cheapest brews on the market and maybe because of this it may well be looked down on by some bar owners who don’t stock it. I was told that Balimi is a beer local to Mwanza and only recently been available countrywide. Pilsner is my 2nd favourite tipple and is also one of the cheapest beers in Tanzania.


  If I struggle to get hold of a Balimi or Pilsner I’ll plump for a Serengeti. Serengeti which is brewed in accordance to Germany’s strict purity reinheitsgebot laws; is not a bad replacement.

  Safari was the first beer I tried, and at the time I thought it a half decent beer but nowadays I find it too sweet. Safari along with Kilimanjaro is probably the most popular bottled beer in Tanzania.


  My Rough guide to Tanzania mentions that the town of Babati probably has more bars per person than anywhere else in the country and they are completely spot with this as when I’d visited on a previous trip I found  almost every other building to be an outlet for booze.  In the centre of Dar es Salaam bars are surprisingly thin on the ground compared to the rest of the country and the ones that are dotted about are not so obvious.


  On previous visits to TZ, if I wanted a shot of spirit I would buy from a bar a sachet of “London” Gin (made locally of course not in London) but this year I was disappointed to find out that the president of Tanzania Magafuli was not a fan of them and has now outlawed them as they have been over the northern border in Kenya and I know the outlawing of alcohol packaged in sachets is being discussed in Uganda as well.  I don’t know if Magafuli is a drinker or not but his middle name is pombe the Swahili word for beer.


Several spirits claim to be either gin, vodka or whiskey as well as Tanzania’s own Konyagi a spirit made from sugar cane, are now only available in bottles.   


As well as bottled beers and spirits local brews such as bege the beer made by the Chaga people from the Moshi area can be found and not just in the northern highlands. When I’ve asked what goes into making bege I’ve heard all sorts of various ingredients and nobody seems to agree exactly but what everybody does agree on is that it involves banana and some kind of grain either maize or sorghum, and taste and quality can vary a lot. There is some bege I’ve drunk that goes down OK but can leave me rushing to the loo the next day and others I’ve drunk and not had “stomach” problem at all.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Sponsored Links