To look at this beer, you’d never know that its main ingredient is a “starchy tuberous root” (to quote Wikipedia) Impala, launched in 2011, was the world’s first commercial beer brewed with cassava. Produced by Cervejas de Moçambique, the Mozambican arm of SABMiller, the beer offers an affordable alternative to mainstream beers – and a safe alternative to moonshine-like homebrews. It has also given Mozambican agriculture a boost, creating a couple of thousand jobs for smallholder farmers.
I sampled the beer on my recent trip to Maputo for the IBD convention and was surprised. I think I was expecting something cloudier, something perhaps a bit more akin to sorghum beer but in fact it’s quite lagery. Aroma-wise there’s some interesting stuff going on – a faint fruitiness and a bit of bubblegum. When you first sip, there’s a hint of grainy sweetness and a slight sourness in the background that’s not unpleasant. Then the finish hits – a long, lingering dryness that, for me at least, made me want to go back for another sip, if only to get rid of the dry, slightly astringent feel. At 6.5% it’s a fairly hefty brew and you can certainly taste the alcohol.
Overall though, Impala is a fairly refreshing and uncomplex brew that is very good bang for your – pardon the pun – buck.