Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chhaang, Nepali for Beer

Chhaang, chang or sometimes reffered to as Himalayan Beer is an intriguing drink, to say the least.  A milky white drink with flecks of floating white chunks throughout. Sometimes referred to as Nepali beer, chang is a fermented rice beverage, making it similar in appearance, taste and production method to unfiltered varieties of Japanese sake.

The taste is sweet at first like a fruit wine but quickly becomes quite tarte. The method of consumtion varies throughout Himalayan cutures. Served cold it can be quite refreshing in the humidity of Kathmandu although when warmed it may assist one to brave the alpine chills. 

Chhaang, like beer, is made with fermented grain.  Barley, millet (finger-millet) or rice is used to brew the drink.   Whichever grain is most readily available is boiled and when it has gone cold, some yeast is added and it is left to stand for 2 or 3 days. When fermentation begins when it is called glum. The resulting 'glum'  is then hand strained and some water is added resulting in a very cloudy but ready to drink Chhaang
According to legends, chhaang is also popular with the Yeti, who often raid isolated mountain villages to drink it. So if you find yourself in the Himalayas looking to get 'Yeti drunk'  try a Chhaang for change.

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