Drink like an Egyptian

Want beer for dinner? While this might seem like an outrageous and irresponsible prospect today, from what I can tell it was a possibility in ancient Egypt. So grab your passport, as we dig up a few fun facts about Egyptian beer.

  • Beer was a thick and hearty beverage, made by fermenting barley mash with yeast. Some also think it was made by fermenting pieces of yeast-risen bread.
  • Today we think of beer as golden or dark amber. In ancient Egypt beer could be red, which was popular, or even black, which was the strongest. I’m thinking it didn’t taste a whole lot like Guiness, though.
  • Flavored beer was made by adding fruits and vegetables (such as dates).
  • Beer was the drink of the people and was even used to pay workers.

Special thanks to Laura Kelley from Silk Road Gourmet. Portions of this post were informed by her fascinating article Hail Cleopatra.


  1. Brian S. says

    Workers lived on beer. However they made it, the ancient Egyptian beer was high in protein, minerals, probably carbs, and so it was an important part of the diet, contributing perhaps half the nutrition.

  2. Stephanie says

    I’m more of a wine drinker than a beer drinker. So if the poll asked about wine, I would say 4 to 5 times a week. Beer, definitely only a few times a month.

    My best friend and her husband just got back from a trip to Egypt; luckily they were there before all the crazy protests started. I’m going to share your menu with her.

    • Sasha Martin says

      I’d say the same for me… except, in the summer, I’m slightly more likely to crack open a cold one. And, thanks for sharing with your friends. I’m glad they made it back safely.

  3. elisa waller says

    I love imported beers..the “dirtier” the better…delicious history…

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