Chic African Culture Blog

How to Make Banana Beer

Banana Beer step-by-step directions and ingredients.

Rwanda is famous for Urwagwa or Banana-beer served in traditional containers. Urwagwa is a local Rwanda banana beer brew made out of crushed banana nectar.

Banana's are the second most important food crop in Rwanda and making Banana Beer is an art form. 


Rwanda is famous for Urwagwa or Banana beer
Rwanda is famous for Urwagwa or Banana beer

How to Make Banana Beer

Urwagwa banana beer has a sweet taste. In the Rwanda Africa there are a large variety of alcoholic beverages made with traditional techniques. Banana beer is a local favorite; made by fermenting ripe sweet bananas with millet. 

Imported beer is readily available in supermarkets but banana beer or Urwagwa is served in traditional containers and is by far the favorite, more so than any other local brew. 

Like most traditional skills, the recipe and process for brewing Urwagwa is handed down through generations by word of mouth.

Serwenda, who is a local brewer says that he picked the tips from his grandfather. Serwenda stated he would not substitute Urwagwa with any other beverage in the process of making banana-beer. 

How to make banana beer. 

Making banana-beer all starts with collecting ripe bananas and pressing with banana leaves to yield slightly clear juice. 

The contents of the tank are then stirred, banana nectar is precious therefore any residual juice inside the wooden bucket is mixed using a small amount of water. 

Then millet is placed on top of the banana nectar, covered with banana leaves, and kept in a warm place for three days to allow fermentation. 

Enjoy the brew or filter further depending on your tastes. The local Rwandans have maintained brewing delicious Urwagwa traditionally for decades.
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Here is a very popular legend about the banana tree; a husband searched for food to feed his family but could find none. He came upon a beautiful, tall green tree with shapes resembling the sliver of the moon. The yellow fruits were being greedily eaten by long tailed creatures but none took sick. Seeing the creatures eating the yellow fruits, he knew that they must not be poisonous, so he chased the creatures away and took the bananas to feed his family.

Did you know

Banana's are the second most important food crop in Rwanda.
Banana's are the second most important
food crop in Rwanda.
Banana's are the second most important food crop in Rwanda. Millet is the world’s sixth most important grain. 

Millets refers to a group of annual grasses mainly found in the arid and semiarid regions of the world. 

These grasses produce small seeded grains and are often cultivated as cereals and used extensively in making baby foods.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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