St. George’s Beer
The oldest brewery in the country, St. George, locally referred to as Giorgis, dates back to 1926. St. George is your typical light beer with an ABV of 4.5%. The beer pours a golden color and has a faint but sweet, floral aroma to it. On the palate the beer is highly carbonated, with a grainy sweetness and no off-flavors. Not too different from most “premium” light beers around the world and nothing to too special. Of all the light beers in Ethiopia, St. George rates well in terms of drinkability and on a hot day, or a thirsty one, goes down like seltzer water. Overall: Score 3 out of 5. St. George Lager doesn’t leave a bad impression but it’s nothing to write home about.
St. George dominates the market and is the favorite amongst Ethiopians. We drink it, especially because it is often the easiest to find on draft, but when presented other options we opt for Meta Premium, Dashen, Harar or Bedele when looking for a lager.
Castel pours a bright golden hue with a small head and has an ABV of 5.0%. On the nose the beer is lightly fruity and grainy. On the palate the beer is grainy and lightly carbonated. Castel is a bit syrupy for our liking and is best served icy cold to avoid the syrupy mouthfeel. Castel is much better on draft. Castel is owned and distributed by the St. George investment company, BGI.
Dashen is another Ethiopian light beer and has an ABV of 4.0%. Dashen pours a yellowy color with a medium head. On the nose one gets corn and a bready, mineral note. The mineral taste of the beer, along with the nose is a bit off putting. However, the beer is definitely drinkable and goes down more easily if you’re looking to drink several, not that we condone drinking in excess!
Meta Premium Lager
Meta Premium Of the lagers on the market, Meta Premium is our favorite lager out there. This beer pours a beautiful clear golden hue with nice bubbles and has an ABV of 5.5%. The aroma is slightly sweet, a hint bready and floral. On the palate this beer is sweet but balanced with a crisp finish that has the slightest hint of hops to it. This hint of hops and spice, albeit a bit yeasty at times, give Meta Premium more flavor than the rest of its Ethiopian counterparts.
Walia is one of the newest beers in Ethiopia, named from the Walia Ibex and begain to producing since 2014. Walia beer is one of the leading beers in thiopia that make it among famous beer in the country.
In 2007 the Castel family, in private consultations with the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, agreed to a 520 million birr (about $55 million USD) investment to create the country’s first premier vineyard in the beautiful lake town of Ziway, located just 160 km south of Addis Ababa.
Teji Is Ethiopia’s famous “honey wine”. We find it to be more similar to dessert liquor than a wine. It is sweet and is served in these beaker-like glasses. The best tej in the country is found in the areas where the best quality honey is produced (usually in the north).Teji – Ethiopian Honey Wine Arake: Is the mostly widely drank local alcohol. It is distilled from local grains and can have a strong anise taste to it. The strength of the arake depends widely on its production. The best arake comes from the Ethiopian highlands. Tela: Is home-brewed beer made from locally malted barley. Typically tela is fairly weak in alcohol volume. Gouder: Is a dry-ish red wine that is produced locally. There is also an “export quality” but we’d recommend you steer clear of either! Axumite: Is a sweet red wine. Ethiopians will mix Axumite (or Gouder) with coke or Fanta so make it more drinkable.
Fresh fruit juices are everywhere in Addis Ababa and other reginal cities and villages. Almost every fruit and veggie stand you see on the street is making fresh juices in the back.
Juice is typically served in layers, known as spris which means ‘mix’. The most common are avocado, papaya, and mango. Seasonal variations include guava, pineapple, strawberry, banana, and orange. The most layers we’ve gotten in a single cup is eight: pineapple, orange, strawberry, mango, papaya, guava, banana and avocado. Juice houses are frequently decorated with colorful posters of fruits and vegetables rarely (or never)