Let's have a beer
This phrase may soon be spoken by local Muslim men (or women, for that matter) without much apprehension, in the same league of that other popular sentence, `Jom kita pekena teh tarik.'
Alcohol-free beer from Iran is now available in Malaysia. The beer is called Istak and is brewed from the same grains (barley and malt) as normal beer except that there is no alcohol content because of no fermentation, or so it seems.I've neither seen nor taste it yet,so I can't really justify how does it taste.
To many people, beer is an alcoholic product. It is part of a group of beverages that Muslims are prohibited from drinking. Even though it is alcohol-free, Istak is sold in bottles that look like any other normal beer bottle. Even the liquid looks like ordinary beer. So you cannot fault the average Muslim citizen to be a bit skeptical. The fact that it is manufactured in Iran, a very conservative Muslim country, does not help allay this doubt.
Who are the people who would want to buy and drink alcohol-free beer anyway? Muslims who have the hidden desire to drink beer but dare not cross the line by taking the real thing? So does 'no alcohol content' really equates 'halal'?
In the end, it all comes down to personal choice. We'll soon see if Istak becomes a popular drink in Malaysia.