Iran: What’s on Tap?

After a long hot day on the Silk Road trail travelers like myself are looking for a comfortable seat, good company and a cold beverage to go along with it all. The there’s plenty of beer to choose from at the local packy. They usually come in flavors like pomegranate, lemon, lime, mango, peach and of course original Malt.  Most get it right by being deep yellow in color and get that light foam action when poured into a glass.  The most important thing is missing – alcohol.  There’s 0% in each can or bottle.  The only thing a consumer feels if they toss back a six-pack is a sugar buzz and a stomach ache and a hang over the next day.  I don’t even think that they contain any caffeine?  I guess you would need to chase it with a strong cup of tea and a hit off the Shesha pipe to feel any mental adjustment. I was kind of hoping to find something like Kvass – a beverage made from fermented yeast and grains.   Children in Russia drink it like soda even if it is anywhere from 1-2% alcohol level.  Still too little strong for the locals in Iran and other Muslim societies.

Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

Delster Malt Beverage:

This was the first one I tried and couldn’t finish it.  It’s a locally “brewed” non alcoholic beer.  I wonder what “Cooper” flavor tastes like?

Persian Beer in Yazd
Iran’s own.  Has a light lemony taste and very fizzy..not bad if one can find a cold one.

Istak Malt Beverage:

Gotta love their tag line – Go ahead “Drink & Drive” This one is imported from Malaysia where they love sweet beverages.

IMG_20110914_063659
Least favorite Malt beverage but good if you are looking for a natural tasting Peach or Mango soda

Hey Day from the makers of Zam Zam Cola:

Hey Day Malt flavored is the closest to the real thing minus the buzz of course. It’s got the color, the fizz level and not so sweet taste. It’s made in Mashhad and the parent company Zam Zam is very fashionable in Malaysia. Coke and Pepsi were banned in Iran for a period of time and Iran’s Zam Zam Co. stole developed their own version of the cool refreshing drink.

IMG_20110915_042954
The best near beer drinking experience…at least it looks like the real thing

Rumors around the hostel common areas say that one can get some sort of clear alcoholic swill if anyone is up for the adventure.  It requires talking to many local taxi drivers, some cash and luck.  Luck on many sides.  First is not getting caught by authorities, next is not getting robbed and lastly, not getting alcohol poisoning since most don’t know what they are getting.  Much of the alcohol isn’t from duty-free in Dubai but home-brewed and possibly moonshine or gasoline?

I was happy with my choices of water, tea, malt beverage or Doogh – a yogurt drink similar to Ayran in Turkey.  Add a little mint…some salt and I’m set. I stuck with the acceptable drinks which will most likely not give a hangover or send me to the nearest hospital or worse.

IMG_19800106_010253
My usual…good for the stomach after a big meal of kebab and rice

4 thoughts on “Iran: What’s on Tap?

  1. Damavand December 12, 2011 / 7:51 am

    I would suggest you to try tropical fruits flavored Istak it’s my fave, Kalleh Kefir Drink is also another beverage which I recommend you it’s a kind of doogh, although it’s not technically doogh, I’m not sure about its ingredients but I like it
    I hope you have eaten Follode Shirizi in Shiraz so far, if you have not you have missed one of the biggest Shiraz attractions. And If you want to come to Esfahan (my town) try Doogh and Gooshfil(Gooshfill is a traditional Isfahanian pastry) you can find it at ice cream parlors. I know eating a really rich sweat pastry with a salty and sour drink sounds weird but if you try it once you will like this combination in this particular dessert.
    as I was reading your blog I realized you have trapped in Internet censorship actually you linked to peyvand.com instead of Zam Zam website, every blocked website in Iran redirects to this bloody website, By the way I hope filtering has not bothered you too much and as you are already tweeting I think you have circumvented it.
    Good Luck and have a nice trip.

  2. farflungistan December 12, 2011 / 2:21 pm

    Hi..I’m writing from home. I was in Shiraz in September this year. I wanted to blog there but didn’t for a couple of reasons. I was too busy seeing as much as I could and was concerned with using a proxy server. I had some problems with my email when I was there so didn’t want to take any chances.
    Anyhow, Thanks for the information. I did try the Follode Shirizi in Shiraz at the Valik Bazaar. Delicious and it was about 30C when we (my husband and I) were there.
    I’ll be back again and hopefully soon. I loved Esfahan. I would have liked to stay longer but we had to make our itinerary before we left the US. We travelled there after Yazd and still have so much material to cover before I can give it the time it deserves. I have so much to write so stay tuned. Please let me know if I get anything incorrect because I’m finding there are so many contradictions of what happened when and by whom.
    Thanks for your kind words and looking forward to getting back to Iran
    Best Regards
    Cori

  3. Damavand December 12, 2011 / 4:05 pm

    Ok!
    First of all I did some mistakes in my previous comment, the Iran internet censorship website is not peyvand.com it’s pevandha.ir and because they are extremely similar I thought you linked to that website when you had stuck behind filtering dam, also That slush(I’m not sure it’s an accurate word for it or not) drink is Faloode-not Follode- or at least we pronounce it Faloode.
    Anyway I hope you’ll come back here soon, although I’m not sure it’s a wish or a curse!
    I’m waiting for your future posts about Esfahan.

  4. farflungistan December 12, 2011 / 9:17 pm

    Hi,
    I guess the Faloode is like a slushy but I’m sure it doesn’t have as much sugar, crazy added colors and tastes much better :). I’ll look out for it when I get back. I’m very excited how many Persians have checked out my site. I hope to shed some light on what it is actually like in Iran as a visitor. Wish me luck 🙂
    cheers!

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