Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Algeria - Victim Number 3.

I knew it was bound to happen over the course of this 32-nation tour.  A nearly 100% Muslim nation and I'm supposed to write about their beer?  Well, it turns out there IS beer in Algeria, but I've had little luck finding much information about it.  Apparently they don't allow alcohol to be imported so there are a few breweries operating for the benefit of the hotels and few bars, but you usually have to ask to get it.  

I consulted a travel site on drinking in Algeria...
Algeria produces a selection of wine (not in big volume in more) and also beer. However, Algeria is a Muslim country, and you do not find alcohol sold everywhere, you have to know where to find it. Wine and alcoholic drinks are sold in the few bar restaurants in the big cities, high end hotels, and night clubs. 
If you visit Algiers or coastal cities, there are fish restaurants in almost every fishing port, the fishing is traditional and the fish sold is very fresh; usually, these restaurants sell alcohol but you have to ask (do not expect to see it, some times it is on the menu, some times not).
It almost sounds like a speak-easy situation... know the right people and know where to go and you can find a few beers, but otherwise, you are shit out of luck!  And in this Muslim nation drinking itself seems to be a touchy subject.
Some Muslims drink but they consider it a sin. It is in private but socially. If some one invites you into his home and does not offer alcohol, he expects you not to be drunk or smell of alcohol, and does not expect you to bring your own bottle or even discuss drinking alcohol in front of his wife and kids.
Hmmm, Algeria really doesn't sound like the kind of place to make a beer journey to, although it does seem that there are extremely beautiful parts of the large North African nation.  Hopefully the food scene will be a little better to report on over on Jay's Bite and Booze blog!

And in the meantime... GO USA!!!


Sources:
WikiTravel Guide
Wikipedia article on Algeria