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