In primary school, every year without fail, under the guise of school trips we used to get packed like sardines in a can and shuffled off to Nile Breweries in Jinja where we’d get a tour of how our good old beer comes into existence. It terrified me, it was loud as hell and many a time hovering over the large tanks sent my fear of heights into frenzy. Afterwards we’d be plied with copious amounts of soda (remember BB Soda?) and then sent off on our merry sugar rush way. We did go to other places like the zoo and the beach but that one stayed with me. The suggestion was planted early.
Fast forward eons later, there I was at Que Pasa wondering whether this would be the day I gave margaritas a second chance, (it wasn’t. how y’all can casually drink tequila like that perturbs me greatly) when something cock like caught my eye, grabbing the menu I noticed it was for Banange beer, a premium craft beer brewed right here in these dusty streets. I saw they offered tours as well and made a mental note to check it out. Granted I like gin or Prosecco if I’m feeling uppity beer is pretty great if you find a good one. I emailed Pall whose info is listed and his response time left me very happy, in no time I had all the info I needed.
The brewery tour, public or private, is available by booking only with group tours at 35,000ugx per person. It includes a sample ‘flight’ of 6 150ml tasters, without tasters 20,000ugx .A minimum of 4 people is required. I found myself with some free time after one of my meetings concluded early. Ed was in tow and with traffic being something else I remembered the tour, I emailed Pall to see if they’d let the two of us do the tour to which he obliged so off we went.
After what was the most infuriating Uber ride ever, we arrived at Yujos incredibly irritated. After a brief inhale exhale moment we were ready. You just can’t sweat the small stuff besides there was beer in our immediate future. Stella, a lovely waitress directed to where we needed to go. We met Pall who’s from Iceland in the middle of a brewing session. It was sweltering in there! Coincidentally the roof was getting insulated to help with the heat so rest assured you’ll be fine when you do your visit. He went about showing us the place, very reminiscent of the failed beer garden only smaller. He gave us some roasted barley to taste; it was very enjoyable, like cereal but better. He then showed us hops which are essentially dried flowers from the hop plant, he pulled out this bag of what he said was his favorite; it smelt divine, citrusy but more intense, suddenly I liked beer even more. The tour continued with different processes and terminologies I recalled then but don’t remember now. it was all so interesting now than it was in 1998 and beyond!
His partner Adam joined just as we concluded the tour. Then it was on to the samples. Listen; I have a new found respect for the measurement 150ml! Ed was chugging things and got clapped immediately I on the other hand actually tasted the beer. Craft beer is where it’s at. We had some Amber ale, stout which I’d previously avoided like the plague since that one Guinness I tried St Patrick’s day 2015, Indian pale ale all ranging between 4.8-6.2 in percentage. Adam got us some of the Mango brew that was sold out due to its popularity, getting it fresh from the vat; I completely understood why it was sold out. Polishing the last dregs, Pall reminded us we had another flight (Lord!) which we opted to enjoy at the restaurant. Before we left we ventured into the deep freezer, I’d only ever seen these on TV, random deaths with people having stripped naked before dying of hypothermia. There was a handle on the inside so we could jump out whenever, it was nice and cold in there, I could have lingered what with getting repeatedly pimp slapped by the heat and all.
The tour done we left Pall and Adam to their craft and went about looking for lunch, Ed mucking about with a samurai sword, it really made his day. The tour was good and all that beer great, I feel like I have a new found appreciation for beer. It’s a good way to spend an afternoon. do check it out.