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Egyptian Beer: A Local’s Guide



Whenever you travel to a new country, one of the most important things is trying their local cuisine. And for beer lovers, trying new local beers can be just as interesting – or even more so, depending on who you’re asking lol.


Read more: 12 Local Egyptian Foods You Need To Try


While Egypt is a Muslim and relatively conservative country, alcohol is indeed legal and beer has been flowing here for literally thousands of years – the Ancient Egyptians absolutely loved their beer, and it was consumed daily from pharaohs to farmers (and even by children!).


Modern-day Egypt’s drinking laws are not as lax as back 5,000 years ago (the legal drinking age here is now 21), but beer is easily bought in Egypt, whether from local alcohol shops such as Drinkies or Cheers, or bars, restaurants and hotels.


Disclaimer: not all restaurants in Egypt serve beer, but many in Cairo and the beach cities do, and they have bars galore. Keep in mind though that alcohol is not served during the month of Ramadan or other Islamic holidays except at hotels if you’re a non-Egyptian.



So let’s dive right into our local Egyptian beers:



Stella



Stella is by far the long-time darling of local beer drinkers. It first hit shelves in Egypt back in 1897, making it almost 120 years old (and has no relation to the Belgian beer Stella Artois).


The Egyptian Stella’s presence in the past century’s old movies, shows and pop culture has made the bottle and its star logo (Stella means ‘star’ in Latin and Italian) a national drinking icon.


Type of beer: lager

Alcohol content: 4.5%

Sizes available: 330 ml & 500 ml


Taste: Stella is (in our humble opinion) our favorite local beer. It’s not heavy at all, but not too light that you feel like you’re drinking something watered down. It’s especially excellent when you drink it outdoors in the heat and it’s ice cold.



Sakara



Sakara is a close second when it comes to the preferred beer of Egyptians. Named after the Saqqara necropolis (although using different spelling), the Step Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt’s oldest pyramid, stands proudly on the bottle so it’s always a nice photo opportunity if you’re the type who likes to take pictures of your international beer-ing.


Sakara comes in 3 different variations:


1) Sakara Gold



Type of beer: lager

Alcohol content: 4%

Sizes available: 500 ml


Taste: Sakara Gold claims it has a more ‘European’ taste (whatever that means), but to us it tastes pretty similar to Stella. Its alcohol content is a bit less so it’s a tad on the lighter side, but overall a really good and refreshing beer with not much fuss.



2) Sakara El-King 10



Type of beer: lager

Alcohol content: 10%

Sizes available: 500 ml


Taste: In general we’re not a fan of high alcohol content beers, and while Sakara El-King 10 is drinkable, to us it’s by no means enjoyable. Give it a try though if you’re looking for something with quite a kick.



3) Sakara El-King 15



Type of beer: lager

Alcohol content: 15%

Sizes available: 500 ml


Taste: no… just no.



Meister Max



For those looking for a beer with more of a bite than Stella and Sakara Gold, Meister Max might be up your alley. It’s higher in alcohol content and although it’s a lager, it has more of an IPA feel to it.


Type of beer: lager

Alcohol content: 8%

Sizes available: 330 ml & 500 ml


Taste: Meister Max is definitely more bitter than Stella and Sakara, so if you like the taste of IPAs, then you might like this one. The taste tends to start out pretty strong, but mellows out a few sips in.



Egyptian beers that were discontinued:

  • Luxor Classic

  • Luxor XXX

  • Sakara Weizen

  • Meister Max Mango

  • Meister Max Pineapple

  • Sphinx


In the case that you tried local Egyptian beer and it didn’t do it for you (how could you??), you’ll also find two international brands widely distributed (but produced in Egypt):


1) Heineken



Type of beer: lager

Alcohol content: 5%

Sizes available: 300 ml & 500 ml (and on draft in certain bars)



2) Desperados



Type of beer: tequila-flavored lager

Alcohol content: 5.9%

Sizes available: 330 ml



So now that you know a thing or two about Egyptian beer, here are the best bars and nightspots in Cairo to try them, divided by neighborhood: