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Nesher Malt bottle cap
Israeli Black Beer -- Wikipedia
Before I ever started drinking Coca-Cola, I had another black beverage that I liked much better. In Israel, we call it black beer. It is non-alcoholic (almost) and is recommended for pregnant women and small children. It was my first soft drink.
Granted, black beer tastes good. It foams. It has a certain heft to it in your mouth. And it's sweet, but not too sweet.
But how could it possibly be healthy?
Anat Feldman, an Israeli fitness expert, has this to say: "Sweetened drinks are not a healthy thing, this is how we've been brought up to think. But is there a sweetened drink that is healthy? The answer is yes. A healthy sweetened drink is the malt, which everyone calls black beer. And it is not intended just for grownups -- children can drink it, too. The nutritional content of the beer is good for the nervous system.. It is low in calories in comparison to other carbonated drinks, and it is sweet." I got this from טיפים בתגית: בירה שחורה
Black beer is supposed be an isotonic drink. It contain proportions of water and other nutrients similar to those found in our blood cells. Because of this, it is recommended for athletes before and after training, and also for those with sensitive kidneys. It is less likely to cause diahrrea or upset stomach than the average soft drink.
When I was a little girl, the most readily available brand of black beer was Nesher Malt. It sported a black eagle on a light blue background. Since then the Israeli beer and soft drink market has gone through a lot of consolidation, and the Tempo company, which bottles Pepsi and Heineken in Israel, is the purveyor of the latest version of black beer under the GoldStar label: Malt Star.
Malt Star is available as an import in locales where large populations of Israelis have emigrated. It is not available where I live, in the rural Ozarks.
Are all the health claims made on behalf of black beer valid? I don't know. I haven't done enough research of my own on this subject to have a strong opinion. This is more a nostalgia piece than one on nutrition.
I really miss black beer! I wish I had cold glass of it right now!
(c) 2009 Aya Katz