Bouzah, the Beer of the Fellaheen

by Mistress Fionna O'Mull

Editor's note: This recipe for beer is very similar to beer brewed by the ancient Egyptians and is probably a direct descendent of it.

The Fellaheen are a tribe of African Arabs who were much sought after as slaves by the Arabic traders, The beer recipe is as follows:

Barley is moistened and left until germination has just begun. It is then crushed or coarsely ground, A dough for sourdough bread is prepared and shaped into large loaves. It is partially baked so that a crust is formed while the inner part remains unbaked. The loaves are broken up and put in a tub or vat with the germinated grain. Water is poured over the whole and it is allowed to stand and ferment.

After fermenting, the whole mass is worked through a sieve into a second pot. If the mass is lumpy, the soaked pieces of bread and dough are kneaded before being pushed through the sieve. The liquid is allowed to stand until it separates. It has a whitish froth and a sour taste. It is consumed immediately as it does not keep, and it may need a second filtering. Egyptian sources talk about spitting out the barley residue from cheap beer, so only more refined beverages may have undergone multiple filterings.

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