Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Hour in Hell

How much would a beer aficionado be willing to risk for a pint of lager? Gunter Voelker and Nadim Khoury might have had this question in mind when they set up shop in two of the world's most dangerous locales.

Herr Voelker recently celebrated Oktoberfest at his Deutscher Hof Erbil brewhouse located over 200 miles north of Baghdad in Irbil, Iraq (the northern Kurdish capital). "Iraq is not dangerous everywhere. There are good areas here. There is Kurdistan and the Kurdish region, where you can get around well, where you can get work done, where you are welcome, where the war stays away," Voelker told the Associated Press. His passion for ale in wartime is admirable, but Irbil has not been completely free of violence. The city has been the target of devastating suicide attacks and Kurdish Iraq is under the constant threat of Turkish bombs.

Nadim Khoury runs a brewery in the Palestinian West Bank village of Taybeh. Difficult business, to say the least, since the start of the second intifada in 2000. Israeli crackdowns and reports of regional bloodshed are sure to keep international pub crawlers to a minimum, but Khoury's Muslim West Bank neighbors have been tolerant of his enterprise. "Everyone thought I was crazy, they didn't believe me. But I didn't listen to them because I like making beer," said the courageous microbrewer.

Still not thirsty? Perhaps suds isn't your thing. In that case you might want to check out the Murree Brewery in Rawalpindi, Pakistan (near Islamabad) for some of its 20 year old malt whiskey. (back to supercollide)