Food & Drinks


Kenyans’ appetite for craft beer is growing with more pubs adding it to their alcoholic beverage lists.

Aleem Ladak, the master brewer and managing director of The Big Five Breweries says while it may be an acquired taste, more people are experimenting with it.

The difference between craft beer and normal beer begins in the production process. While large-scale breweries pasteurise their beer for preservation purposes, craft beer does not go through pasteurisation and is therefore consumed fresh. Most craft beers are more flavourful but with a shorter shelf life.

When looking to select a tasty craft beer, Aleem advises you ask the bartender for recommendations as opposed to the server. “Unlike the server, the bartender will want to find out your preference; whether you like sweet beer, light beer or heavier beers or whether your palate prefers sour flavours while servers are more likely to recommend the first beer they can think of since they are usually aiming to take as many orders possible,” says Mr Ladak.


The production process of craft beer can take from 14 days to several months depending on the type. They can be more full-bodied with richer flavours than other beers because brewers use different hops and malts such as caramel and chocolate.

“I’ve sampled craft beers that have chilli, bubblegum and Masala chai flavours and while some flavours do not pair well with the beers others result to a rich balance,” he says.

“When looking for a craft beer to enjoy, get one that is well balanced in flavour — no to bitter, and not too sweet. A balanced beer to me is one that I will want to have more than just one bottle,” he says.

This weekend, beer enthusiasts have the chance to sample over 40 varieties both local and international brands at the first annual Nairobi Beer Festival taking place this weekend at Js Fresh Bar & Kitchen in Nairobi’s Westlands.

The event will then extend to over 30 restaurants and bars in Nairobi from October 1 to October 7.

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