Local Brew. Pronounced Locaaaal Brrrrrew, with a strong rolling of the R just like you learned in Spanish class. It hard to really describe just how wild the whole experience was. But I'm gonna give it my level best.

First thing. Locaaal Brrrew is best consumed with a bunch of other dudes. You sit around the communal pot, grab onto your straw and hang on tight. From what we could gather, you show up whenever you get out of work, say around 2, maybe 3 or 4. Then you get to sit there drinking until the sun goes down and the mosquitos come out (unless they're friendly mosquitos, which it turns out, most are). Maybe you play some cards, maybe you sing a bit or dance if the spirit catches you. But mostly you just sit there, sipping at your straw and running your mouth. Not unlike a lot of bars in that respect.

But then there's the drink itself. Marua. How best to describe it? It's made from a variety of tasty ingredients, which vary depending on who you ask but include fermented millet and possibly honey. The texture is porridge-like and grainy, think oatmeal mixed with a handful of sand. On the business end of the straw, it's mostly hot liquid, but again, mixed with sand. And let me tell you, if the sight of it being slopped to a new pot when they refresh the mixture doesn't get your appetite going, I don't know what will.

The taste is unusual, to say the least. Sour and tangy, like lemon juice mixed with yogurt. But it grows on you. And luckily, the straws have nice little filtering bags on the end, so the amount of millet seed bits and mysterious sand that makes it way into your mouth is minimal less than it could be. But the real thing about the whole process that makes it so unforgettable is the temperature. The ladies periodically pour steaming water into the pot, which mingles with the porridgeslop, giving everyone plenty of hot mystery liquid to drink.

To review, it's warm, sandy and sour. And vaguely alcoholic. In case anyone is concerned about sanitary conditions, I can happily report that the ladies periodically rinse the abandoned straws in a big barrel of water. And since the drink is warm, I'm sure that means that the water has been boiled to kill off any bugs and critters (and not that it's being kept at a comfortable temperature for growing said bugs and critters). And of course, the straws are probably four feet long, so it's impossible to backwash from that far. Right? Right?

Put it this way. Luke had enough sense to PRETEND to drink most of the time. Me? I figured what the hell. I survived the cow foot soup, the various toasted insects, a dinosaur of a fried fish, all the mystery meat I can find, even millet porridge. I'm not here to mess around. I went after that brew like it was going out of style. In retrospect, maybe not the best decision.

Note to self: Next time, pretend.


  1. Awesome. Give that GI tract a run for its money. You're going to be able to digest rocks by the time you get back to the states.

    Or maybe even a Big Mac.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Sometimes the bar, well ... he eats you"

5 sweeping generalizations about Africa

Uganda 1, Me 0