Namibians and Beer
If countries had hobbies the United Kingdom and Germany’s hobbies would be football. Switzerland’s hobby would be behaving well. The United State’s hobby would be invading oil-rich countries. Japan’s hobby would be scary toilets with lots of buttons. Namibia’s hobby would be beer.
This is a guide to Namibians and beer. If you are reading it after your visit, it explains everything. If you are reading it before arrival, read it very, very carefully, then read it again.
Most countries have something of which everyone is proud. Namibians have 11 language groups, a democracy, a bunch of different churches and a soccer team that regularly loses in regional and world championships, so we don’t agree on much. But we all do agree on our beer! Our beer is the best!
Namibians will offer you a beer to prove this point. Unless you are Moslem, you are advised to drink it. If traveling on a budget, you may choose to name a very good beer brewed somewhere else. This will probably get you a second free beer, so that you can make up your mind and agree. At this point it is customary to buy a beer in return, but it must be the same Namibian beer. State that the beer is the best you have ever tasted. This may get you a third free beer.
Never, ever criticize the beer. This is almost as bad as being insulting to the Namibian flag. Namibians believe it is their patriotic duty to drink and enjoy beer. Namibians know this because the beer is made here, so drinking it creates employment and is good for the economy. As a result, most people enjoy being patriotic at lunch time, after work, on Friday afternoons when there isn’t a lot of work to do and most of Saturday. Namibians are especially patriotic when the weather is hot.
Travellers are advised that Namibia’s national anthem is ‘Namibia, Land of the Brave’ and not ‘Ein Prosit’ which is actually a traditional German drinking song. It is acceptable to drink beer while singing ‘Ein Prosit’, but people will look at you strangely if you sing the national anthem while drinking beer.
Namibian beer is brewed according to the ‘Reinheitsgebot’, an ancient German brewing law that states beer may contain only barley, malt, hops and water. Most Namibians will tell you that because the beer is so pure, you will not get a hangover. They believe this the way a kid believes in Father Christmas. Do not argue, but limit the amount of beer you drink, as most Namibians are immune to hangovers by now and you are probably not.
A special advisory note on light beer: Namibians do not usually drink light beer as it defeats the purpose of drinking beer, which is to relax and tell interesting stories. If you drink light beer, Namibians may believe you are ill or from South Africa. If you are from South Africa, this is not a problem. If you are from any other country and choose light beer, please do not be offended if you are mistaken for a South African. If you really are ill, ask your hotel to refer you to a doctor.