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Black Beer

Updated on March 14, 2011

Nesher Malt bottle cap

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.

Image Credit: Tavern Trove
Image Credit: Tavern Trove

Tempo Commercial

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


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    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 3 years ago from The Ozarks

      What is the non-alcoholic beer produced in Lebanon called?

    • profile image

      Jailani 3 years ago

      As a Muslim, I am not allowed to consume alcoholic drinks, but a few brands of NA beer like Beck and Clausthaler (light colour beer taste and less sweet) and Malta and Nutrimalt (tasted like Stout and very sweet) are readily available here accept they dont call them beer they call them malt drink to differentiate them from the real McCoys. My kids and I really enjoy the drinks. There is also an NA beer produced in Lebanon (cant remember the name) and sold at the local restaurants but watery as compared to the earlier brands.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks

      Well, maybe you and I can get ahead of the curve!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL about ovaltine! Also in malted milk shakes. Looks like malt may be the next "smart food", marketed appropriately. Don't know why the food industry hasn't picked up on this. *snyde grin*

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thanks, Sally's Trove. I read the article you linked, and it is very informative. Just another reason why black beer is good for us. But who knew the same ingredient was in ovaltine!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I never heard of this drink, but did a quick search on malt, which I know to be an ingredient in many foods which are not alcoholic. I'm kind of intrigued, but for now, here's something I found interesting (in case you haven't seen it):

      The benefits of malt extract beverages.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Springboard, if you find some black beer, come back and let me know how you liked it!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Might have to look for it. I've never seen it around, but we've got a lot of interesting ethnic stores in the area.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Springboard, give it a try, if there is anywhere you are. You might like it!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Hmm. Never heard of it. Sounds interesting.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Bill Yon, thanks for your comment. No, Israeli black beer is nothing like American root beer. It's an actual beer brewed with hops, only it has a very low alcohol content and is very lightly sweetened.

    • bill yon profile image

      bill yon 8 years ago from sourcewall

      I used to drink black beer when I was in Germany only difference was it was real beer,real strong beer.But I was wondering is black beer the same as american root beer?

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Moon Daisy, thanks for stopping by. I wish we had Supermalt at our local Wal*Mart. I would definitely give it a try!

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 8 years ago from London

      Aya, thanks for this hub, you reminded me of a drink that I really like. It's not called beer here, one of the main brands is called Supermalt, and the others also have malt in the title, so they're marketed very much as health drinks.

      The taste reminds me a bit of Guinness, and looks like it too. Maybe I'll start drinking them again..

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      June, it was probably a non-alcoholic beer. If it was not dark or a little sweet, then it would not be called black beer. However, it's worth researching to find out if they have it in Alberta. In large cities, there is a much better chance of finding unusual food and beverages than out in the country.

    • June Sun profile image

      June Sun 8 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I remember I used to like something similar like 'black beer' in Taiwan. I am not sure whether they are the same thing. But what I had in Taiwan was kind of expensive. It looked and packed like beer, but it's not alcoholic. I had a lot of it when I was pregnant. I miss also this kind of drink a lot. Not sure whether they have it here in Alberta. :)

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Dohn121, thanks for your comment. The list F.L. Light provided is indeed eye opening. Apparently, black beer is enjoyed the world over and not just in Israel.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Cool and refreshing hub, Aya. That's one heck of a list Ef El Light!

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      F.L. Light, thanks for providing the extra information! I went to look at the website you included for Spain, and I found it interesting that MaltaelMiguelete actually sells malt in the form of powder that you can prepare yourself by adding water and whatever other ingredients you like. That is well worth looking into.

    • Ef El Light profile image

      Ef El Light 8 years ago from New York State

      Here is a list of maltas from Wikipedia, and it does include Malt Star.

      DG Malta (Jamaica)Extracto de MaltaKaramalz (Germany)La Alemana Extracto de Malta Morena (Puerto Rico)Malt Star (Israel)Malta AmstelMalta Andina (Colombia)Pony Malta (Colombia)Malta Balashi (Aruba)Malta del Barú (Panama)Malta Bohio (Cuba)Malta Brasserie du Benin (Togo)Malta Bucanero (Cuba)Malta Caracas (Venezuela)Malta Carib (Trinidad & Tobago)Malta Con Leche (USA)Malta ColosoMalta Corona (Puerto Rico)Malta EconoMalta El Sol (Cuba)[Malta El Miguelete (Valencia], Spain)(see [ )Malta EstrellaMalta GoyaMalta Goya LightMalta GrandeMalta Goya (Lion Brewery, Pennsylvania, US)Malta Goya (Puerto Rico, US)Malta Goya light (Puerto Rico, US)Malta GuinnessMalta H (Haiti)Malta Hatuey (Cuban American)Malta HeinekenMalta India (Dominican Republic)Malta India (Puerto Rico)Malta India Light (Puerto Rico)Malta Leona (Colombia)Malta Maltex (Denmark)Malta Mareli (Guatemala)Malta Mayabe (Cuba)Malta Morena (Dominican Republic)Malta Morenita (Chile)Maltín Polar (Venezuela)Malta PrincesaMalta Regional (Venezuela)Malta Siboney (Cuban American))Malta Sunchy (Cuban American)Sunshine Bottling Co.Malta Vigor (Panama)Maltextrakt (Iceland)Malty (Israel)Nesher Gold Malt(Israel)Pony Malta (Colombia)Powermalt - Power Malt Extra Energy (Denmark)Powermalt - Vanilla Power Malt (Denmark)Malta RegalSuper Malta (Panama)Supermalt Original(Denmark)Supermalt Plus with Ginseng and Aloe VeraSupermalt Tetra Pack (non carbonated)Tiger Malt (Barbados)Vitamalt Classic(Denmark. Also Ginger and lemon-flavoured versionsVitamalt Plus (Denmark). Product is enhanced with Ginseng, Aloe Vera and Royal JellyVitamalt Tetra Pack (Non carbonated)Vitamalz (Germany, brewed in various locations by regional breweries under a global convention)Vitarroz Malta (Lion Brewery, Pennsylvania, US)Egils Maltextrakt (Iceland)Víking Maltöl (Iceland)Maltina (Nigeria)Amstel Malta (Nigeria)Malta Guiness (Nigeria)Malta Pilsen (Uruguay)Okocim Karmi (Poland) and recent further versions of it, aimed at women, flavoured with coffee & vanilla, chocolate, raspberry etc.


    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Ngureco, thanks for your comment. I can see that it might be a problem to market this to people who think of beer as an alcoholic beverage that lowers inhibitions. While black beer is virtually non-alcoholic, and you cannot get drunk on it, it is produced by brewing malted barley and flavored with hops. So I would say that it is actually a kind of beer.

      Thanks for your kind offer, but I'll stick to black beer.


      fermentation of starches, mainly derived from cereal grains—the most common of which is malted barley, although wheat, maize (corn), and rice are widely used. Most beer is flavoured with hops, alcoholic beverage that leads to loosening of inhibitions.

      While black beer is virtually non-alcoholic -- it would not be possible to get drunk on it -- I believe that it is in fact a kind of beer. Beer, in general, is produce


    • ngureco profile image

      ngureco 8 years ago

      “Black beer” may be a difficult name to market an isotonic drink to Christians and Muslims. Is this drink really black and why is it called a beer especially when it is meant for children and expectant mother?

      Aya Katz, if your thirst for black beer is too much then I can send to you Tusker as a substitute (just joking).


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