It was a hot Thursday evening, I am in ripped jeans and a blue shirt, sitting at the edge of Craic Lounge in Southfield Mall, overlooking the evening traffic on Airport North Road, when I tasted what hands down could be the best beer in Africa. Windhoek.

When I think about Windhoek, the city, I think of Namibia. Her weather. Semi aridness. Or the Aridness. Close to becoming a dessert but not just quite there. A place I imagine harsh winds hit and lift the sweat off your face replacing it with a fine layer of sand dust. A place that would still be rich and colorful with culture. A place with sounds so strange. But not like a horny raccoon. No. Like the melodious symphony of foreign languages melting together at a market place like an uncoordinated wedding. A place where people in blue and red colored African attire and matching head gears walk in the streets, heads held high, scoffing at tourists with open khaki shirts that cling to their sweaty chests. But that is as much as my imagination goes. Let’s just say it’s a place I want to visit. Travel magazines, over to you.

The closest I’ve come to Namibia is her beer. Windhoek. Which is a stark contrast to how I’ve imagined the place. She looks demure. She sits on bar shelves and waits to be ordered. But in a country like ours where tastes are not as refined, and guys are not really adventurous with their choices, she gets overlooked and peels back into herself. Not feeling bad and not feeling good about it either. She understands she is in a foreign land and acts accordingly. Unlike our brother Tusker. That one shouts like the village mad man in every country it goes to.

This is the beer to keep at the back of your fridge for when you have long days in the office. It is something worthwhile to come home to. That and a wife if you have one. It is the best company when you’re watching a nature show or just marveling at the malicious intent of white collar criminals on Wall Street in an episode of Billions.

Now here’s the thing; in its demureness, Windhoek hides a treasure of flavor. Her taste is unlike nothing you’ve had in this our city. If anything it seems the Namibians with their horrid weather found a way to make a drink that makes up for it. It’s crisp. Especially when cold. Like taking a bite out of an apple straight from the fridge. It does not go down your throat reluctantly. It is smooth. The best part is on its way down it leaves you with a tinge of bitterness at the tip and mid of your tongue. A reminder that she is just as fierce as the rest. Then just as that sip goes down so does the bitterness.

The makers swear the bitterness comes from one of the only three ingredients they use. All natural. Water, barley and hops. The hops, being the culprit for the bitter sting. But if you’ve been a beer drinker for a while that you already know.

From my experience with Windhoek, I can tell you for a fact it is not the beer to down in gulps as you bump to loud senseless music. This beer deserves time, space, air, and good music. This is the beer to lubricate conversation among buddies. The kind of beer you should hold in one hand as you wave the other as Nairobi Horns Projects mellows the evening away or as MDQ electrifies the night with her sassy punchlines and unique afro fusions.

This is the beer to keep at the back of your fridge for when you have long days in the office. It is something worthwhile to come home to. That and a wife if you have one. It is the best company when you’re watching a nature show or just marveling at the malicious intent of white collar criminals on Wall Street in an episode of Billions.

The downside is being that shy has worked against it. You will need to grace a place that sees an international crowd. The local would be the last place you found it unless you are those people that refer to J’s and Mercury as locals. FYI, they are not. You’re just stuck in a cloud of classism that gives you a sense of belonging when you admit to paying over Ksh 350 for a beer. My best bet would be to visit a supermarket first, these multinational ones and get a six-pack. Chill it and try it at home.

You’ll be glad you did.

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