Albania was defenitely not on the wine map 30 years ago as well as most of the Balkan countries. I have a world wine guide written during the early 90:s and the part about Albania was a few sentences only. Wine takes time to grow and just because there are grapes it dosent mean they are suitable for good wines. It takes time. There are around 12 000 hectares of wine in Albania, compared with around 25 000 in Slovenia or almost 800 000 hectares in France.
Wine around Tirana
Wine has been produced already 3000 years ago which makes Albania one of the older countries with a long wine tradition. But the wines that was produced during the last 50 years has been of lower quality.
There are today many interesting wineries even if the modern wine history is short. There was a few wineries around 1980 but the taste was simple and Albania was considered a no-go for the wine connoisseur. The volumes have trippled since then and we expect that the piece about Albania in wine guides will be longer in the near future. The climate is good and the knowledge is good. Many good wine makers have started to develop the wines and there are many superb wines nowadays. There are many wineries in the country and a few around Tirana. We decided to visit just this one because of its good reviews and nice setting. Most of the farms are only accessible by car but Uka Farm is easy to reach with bus and some walking.
Uka farm is just outside town. Take a bus to the shopping mall QTU and walk 30 min or take taxi. They have seven wines and what’s interesting is that one of the wines is made with the local grape Kallmet. Very exotic to try new grapes. Wines are served inside during the winter and the food is great. A small but good menu. Staff and owner are doing their best to welcome visitors. This is a good afternoon tour when in Tirana.
Other Albanian grapes are Shesh, Vlosh and Debin. The production is increasing every year and wines are developing. There are many wine shops around town but also in Durres which is the coastal town you should visit. Bus goes back and forth several times per day. The wine shops in Durres sell many other wines then in Tiranas shops which focus more on Italian/French and a handfull local wines. Ask for the local grapes and when it comes to good ones, calculate to pay around 15 euro or more for a interesting wine.
Morocco is far from a dry country. More than ten wineries are operating and new wines are coming out every year. Wines are sold at most local restaurants and over 40 million bottles of wine are consumed locally.
Already around 1950, there was 55,000 hectares of wine cultivation in Morocco, a tradition the French took with them. After the independence in 1956, Moroccos wine production declined but came back during the 1990:s. There is today five regions that produce wine and some get exported, mainly to France. The French actor Gerard Depardieu has his own Moroccan wine from Les Deux Domaine which is called Lumiere and is sold both in Morocco and abroad. The Moroccan climate is diverse with the the cool winds from the Atlantic as well as the calmer Mediterranean climate. Most wineries are in the North but there is also one just outside Essaouira which has a surprisingly warm climate. But the grapes develop well.
The grapes The most common grapes are Carignan, Cinsaut and Grenache. The red wines from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are becoming popular but is still a smaller part of the production. There is also Muscat, Clairette blanche, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Sauvignon blanc.
Wineries around Rabat There are a few wineries outside the capital Rabat , whereof La Ferme Rogue is the most famous. The smaller Domaine de Amal makes very nice wines and have many to choose from. Both red, white, rose and grey wines which are called “gris” in French. The cheaper line cost like 5 euro a bottle but they do good. The highest line with the grand cuvee costs around 12 euro. Taxes are high in Morocco and the same quality of wines are sold for 2-4 euro lower in Tunisia. A general advise in Morocco is that wines over 10 euro are good and for 20 euro you can get really interesting ones. In the 5 euro category you have to test your way through many bad wines and some that will surprise you.
Where to buy the wines ? Alcohol can only be sold in special shops, often connected with the supermarket chain Carrefour. But there are also many small shops in every town. Search for the phrase “Cave a vin” and you will find many. The chain Nicolas has a number of shops in Morocco and sell both local and international wines. Only in the small capital Rabat you can find more than ten alcohol shops.
The best way to learn about Moroccan wines is to do a tasting by grape or color. White and grey wines do quite good in northern Africa and are widely grown in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The grey wines are very similar to white but has often some surprising hints.
Wineries easy to visit Domaine Ouled Thaleb most popular wines are Medaillon (Cabernet) and Tandem (Syrah). Tandem is a really interesting wine with good taste and structure. Medaillon is very easy to find at most restaurants but there is also a rose Medaillon that is good.
If you are on the way to Essaoira and Marrakech, make a visit at Val d Argan which makes good wines despite the hot climate and sandy terroir. They have a big winery with tasting room for tastings. Easy to access from the main road.
Many wineries are around Fes and Meknes among hills and valleys. Thats also the region where much olives are grown. Domaine de la Zouina outside Meknes is easy to reach from Rabat.
When it comes to the grapes, Syrah might be the most interesting one here. Many wines are blended but there are many pure Syrah wines that are really good. If you are planning a tasting with red, make it Syrah. Val d Argan has one of the most expensive wines in Morocco. Since the taxes are high, Orian might be a bit overpriced but its a really good wine.
This is just a very brief introduction to Moroccan wines. A deeper dive will be published later on.
Your guide to craft beer in Bosnia and Hercegovina for 2022. Breweries, craft beer bars and a few tourist tips. Start in Sarajevo and sip your way through Mostar and Banja Luka.
Sarajevo ! Charming small capital with amazing bars in 1920 speakeasy style and craft beer. Cheap to travel to and the perfect size for a 3-4 days visit. Both wizz air and ryan air runs to Tuzla, Sarajevo and Banja Luka. Sarajevo has around 700 000 inhabitants and the tourism is not too heavy. The town is in the middle of green mountains and pine forests. The river Miljacka is flowing under the famous Latin bridge. Visiting in April can be tricky with temperatures on 15°C (60°F) or snow some days, aim for May to September. Hotel prices are low and most restaurants depends on locals, not tourists. Instead of spending all your money at expensive destinations with expensive beers and food. Come to Sarajevo enjoy the freedom of having excellent craft beers for 2-3 euro each.
Sarajevo is calm, people are welcoming and many speak English. Take a taxi from the airport to the city center, check in and run out. Begin with a cup of espresso or a Turkish coffee. Save time by eating some cevap, the local grilled kebab with delicious bread and chopped onions.
Make sure you have saved all the pins from this guide at your offline map, it’s time to start the journey. Begin along the main promenade and make the first stop at Fabrika which has 6-8 beers on tap and a good selection of craft beer. Delicious mixed meat platters goes perfect with beer. Their own beer should be ready now since it was on fermentation during the time of the visit. Fabrika is small and personal with helpful staff. They do also have happy hour with lager beers.
Continue to the the next craft beer bar which is a few hundred meters away. Gastropub Vucko has an extensive beer list with craft beers from Serbia, Croatia, Belgium and a couple of beers on tap. The sign outside says they have over 150 different beers to offer. Probably the best best beer selection in Sarajevo.
There are two speakeasy bars nearby. Zlatna Ribica (right picture) is a popular place for drinks and beautiful decorated. Balkan Expresshas live music on week ends and is just 200 m from Vucko. They serve regular lagers and sljivovica, the local spirits made from fruits.
Sarajevo is small and its easy to walk through the city center in less than 30 minutes. But there is also trams. Take tram nr 3 to Dolac Malta which is 300 meters from VOPI, the best craft beer bar in Sarajevo. It’s a three kilometers walk but the road is boring so better take a taxi or tram. If you are early, jump in to one of the beer yoga classes. The bar is situated in a quiet neighbourhood and you can order food from the restaurants near by. The brewer and owner Damir Dizdarevic is always there. He knows about all beers and beer related events in Bosnia. So if you are interested to know more about craft beer, visit VOPI. Pivo means beer and VOPI is just the letters turned around a bit. It’s a new brewery and very interesting to see where it goes. Damir is enthusiastic and involved in many beer events. The first beer registered on untappd was the Mornar pale ale in 2021.
Pi brewery does also play with words, π as in pivo. Pi brewery is from Sarajevo and has been in operation since 2015 and has 19 beers on the beer app untappd and does modern crafts. Beers are sold on bottle all over Bosnia. The imperial IPA Utopia on 8 % is the most consumed.
84 Olympics Brewery is also from Sarajevo and has a handfull of beers, mainly ales and IPA. The 84 Pale Ale is the most popular beer. And yes, the Olympics took place in Sarajevo in 1984.
The third one from Sarajevo is Gelender, also a micro brewery and has six beers with the IPA Vasco Da Gama and the ale Nonchalant as the most popular. Both of them has over 400 check ins on untappd which is rare for many Bosnian beers. The craft beer boom started in 2012 in Bosnia and Gelender brewery in 2014. Gelender means handrail and refers to the balance required to ride it with a snowboard.
The smallest brewery in Sarajevo is probably Shaman Brewery that has three beers so far. It’s difficult to find their beers but they are served at Viking pub. Viking pub offers rock music together with Shaman beer and regional crafts from Serbia and Croatia. No need for a description of the interior design. Vikings + Shamans = …?
Another brewery is Pivara Semizburg that is brewing both beer and other spirits. Semizburg is having their own brand but does also brew for Walter Ego pub 1 and 2. Walter Ego 1 is a bit up the hills but worth a visit.
The Prikaza IPA on 6.7 % is the most popular beer out of the 20 beers they have made since 2018. The main brewer Haris Piknjac was part of the early brewing society in Vietnam 2012 and has been one of few home brewers in Pakistan before returning to Bosnia. Bosnias population is on a steady decline with the exodus of young people. But the outflow is slowing down and there is also many entrepreneurs that return with new inputs.
Gorstak craft brewery has around 10 different ales, IPAs and a hoppy wheat. The brewery in Laktasi is far away from Sarajevo but their beers are sold on bottle at many bars around the country. They define themselves as a nano brewery but most of the breweries in Bosnia would be considered nano. Most of them brew about 100 liters at a time and some less. In USA, micro breweries can brew up to 1.7 million liters a year. Which is more than all Bosnian craft breweries together. The definition in Europe is smaller and often referred to batch size with 100 liters batches considered as nano size.
Maybe you visited all places the first night and feel like having some regular lager to start with the day after? Visit Sarajevo Brewery before 4 PM and get a fresh lager or their unfiltered lager, Nefiltrirano on tap. It’s very nice inside and they have some classic dishes that goes very well with the beer. Combine the visit with visiting the old Olympic bobsled track on top of the mountain. The cable car is not far away from the brewery.
The pearl in Bosnia, surrounded by beautiful mountains and the river Neretva passing under the Starimost bridge. The best thing with Mostar is that sightseeing, history and craft beer comes together as one. You have everything within a few hundred meters radius. Craft Beer Garden Imaimoze is just by the Mostar bridge and Old Town. It’s a must visit ! This is Oldbridz own bar but other local crafts are also served.
OldbridzCraft Breweryis one of the oldest craft breweries in the region and was established in 2012. The brewer Arslan Mesihovic is producing excellent beers and has so far introduced over 30 different beers. The Marakuja pale ale is the most consumed so far. There is often Croatian craft beers available. There is ten times more craft beers in Croatia but the prices are also 50 % higher so the magic Beer-Money rate is lower.
If someone opens a brewery in Bosnia, the first call would probably be to Imamimoze craft beer garden. You can feel the weight and importance when sipping on a beer from the now oldest craft brewery in Bosnia. The question is who the first one was but a handful breweries has already disappeared. For example Castrum craft brewery closed down recently after a few years of business.
Mostar has two important beverage producers. The second is Cooltura Pivovara that introduced their first beers in 2016 and has made about 10 beers until today. Their beers are sold on bottle in many bars around the country. When walking around in Mostar. Pub Beer Ti&Ja is a safe card for a good beer menu and lies a 20 minutes walk from Imaimoze craft beer garden.
Banja Luka, Srebrenica and Brcko
Brcko is a small town in northern Bosnia where Laufer craft brewerystarted in 2018 and has two stouts, a wheat and an ale. VOPI in Sarajevo has their beer and many more.
MCB, Master Craft Brewery in Banja Lukas sells beers on both bottle and in keg. They brew very nice beers and their pale ale is excellent. Which was served together with their IPA at Fabrika in Sarajevo. They have nine beers so far and more is coming. Absolutely a must sip !
Silvertown Brewery is one of the smaller ones but has so far five beers and the blonde ale Pivovica on 9 % is the most popular. The brewery is in Srebrenica but more beers are sold in the Netherlands than local. They have a collaboration with Brouwerij Fierbier in Tilburg, a smaller town in the Netherlands. Their beers are available at Craft Beer Garden Imaimoze in Mostar.
Did i miss something ? send me a message or comment . Hope you will enjoy it as much as i self did in april 2022.
Rabat is known as the administrativ, calm and sleepy capital of Morocco. Everything seems so quiet but its a very social town and people goes out quite often. There are many vibrant and nice bars as well as a bit shady ones. The regular ones are easy to find but this guide will help you find the hidden ones which took years to find. They are called shady, but not shady as in dangerous or creepy, just relative shady to the usual restaurants people visit. Literally shady, because doors and windows often are black and bars are always, almost always inside since its forbidden to serve alcohol in the public. This is just a sample of bars, not all of them. I used to have “shady pub crawls” in Rabat so this is one possible tour! Visit 2-3 bars in central Rabat and then 2-3 in Agdal.
Just walk 200 meter from the train station in Rabat and you are here. The name Terminus, says it all. Its a destination ! Its on the corner and just like many other bars, there are no google info. So aim for Cafe Terminus which is a roof top cafe in the same building.
The entrance is dark and windows hard to see but look out for any door guarded by a door man and you are sure you are on the right path. After that take a 10 min walk to Dalia or any other bar in the area.
Dalia has live music on week ends and is always crowded. So better visit it before 8 pm. But this is a must visit as well, beer and Moroccan music on week ends – what more can you wish? If you are stressed out and need some jazz and proper dining tables to sit down and meet other foreigners, visit Le Bistrot de Pietri and pay double or tripple for a beer instead of like 15 dirhams at Dalia. Live jazz at week ends attracts an older crowd with more expats and tourists. None of them will be observed at Dalia, even if its just 200 m away. These are two different planets.
Then walk further to the classic bar La Reve ( The dream) . But on the way you can have a quick beer at Yucatan which is about 300 m from Dalia. If you didn’t eat something before, have something at fancy Casa Jose Tapas. Cosy place with good sea food. La Reve and many bars listed here have a limited kitchen! You can continue to many places. Just make up your mind if you want more shady bars or try to meet the others from the tourist bus. More expats frequent nearby Ty Potes which can be fully booked on evenings. For the adventurer, visit one of the most shady bars in town, just outside the medina. Look for this door. Its the entrance to the left. Its a small place but serves Stork beer just perfectly cold. Its very close to Restaurant Zerda which also is interesting to visit. Hat off if you find it and make a visit! This is the place where people come to drink.
Otherwise take a taxi to Agdal, its like 20 dirham away . Ask for Le chill or just the Sitel tower which is nearby. Start with some snack and a cold leffe blonde.
This is Le Chill which has Leffe served in proper glasses! The door is black and there are no windows so can be a bit tricky to spot. This is a really good and popular bar where you can eat good and drink. After 8 pm it can be hard to get a table on week ends.
There are plenty of bars in the area and has a younger crowd. If you are a fan of tripadvisor reviews you probably read about Upstairs.
If you want to meet other expats or tourists in Rabat – they will probably be at Upstairs. Goethe 2.0 is also very popular for expats and often full on week ends. But this guide is not for you who want to meet other foreigners. This is for you who are interested in experiencing local culture. But remember its just one part of it. These small bars doesn’t speak for the bigger part, its just one small part of the society that you didn’t expect to experience. Many Moroccan women does not visit these cheap and male dominated bars but more fancy places like, Les Georges, Les Bistrot Pietri and other proper restaurants. Worth mentioning is the hilarious questions on various travel forums where people tells how they brought beer and wine to Morocco because they didn’t believe it existed.
If you are early in Agdal, make a visit to the wine shop Les vignes de Agdal which has a good selection of wines and beers. From le Chill you can walk to Clandestino Bar which is amazingly decorated. Ask for the famous German “Mass” and get one liter of liquid joy. Beer comes with small dishes so give a good tip here. Tipping overall is not expected to be high. But a few dirhams at each place is nice.
After Clandestino you can head to Rockers, a 5 min walk away if you need some Pantera, Metallica or bon jovi to listen to while having leffe or more of the one liter jug filled with beer. The one and only rock music bar in Rabat. Or Le Saxo, a small bar with good service and many people from the neighbourhood. Le Saxo and Rockers are very close to Les Vignes de Agdal as well as to a few more bars and the trendy Le Georges which is more of a dinner place. But they have some French craft beers so make a quick visit at the bar and ask for IPA. Probably its sold out but worth asking.
Rabat has around 20 small bars like that but also many restaurants with Italian, French and International cuisine. So no need to stay thirsty in Rabat.
Good to know that its still a bit taboo to be spotted in a bar for some people so don’t take pictures unless you are very discrete. At regular restaurants you are more than welcome to take selfies and pictures.
Tirana has much to offer and with the new wizz air route from Abu Dhabi to Tirana its cheap and easy to sample some craft beer. For the price of 2-3 drinks in Abu Dhabi you can book a ticket to Tirana instead.
This is the first article in the series of affordable and beer relevant destinations available from Abu Dhabi. Next one will be on Serbia, later Bosnia and Hercegovina. The relevant craft beers will be mentioned as well as a few spots worth visit for the beer drinker. But since the craft beer development just started its good to have a back up – sample some wines as well.
Beer in Tirana
Most bars has a couple of different beers, mainly lagers but also German and Belgian beers. Things are moving and in a year or two we will see many craft breweries and bars. The population is young, with a average on 36 years, Albanian has the youngest population on the Balkans. Many young people are migrating but more and more tend to stay. Like in many Balkan countries, the population is decreasing every year.
Most bars are run by younger people with hope and passion so expect much to happen the coming years. The pandemic has passed its worst phases and restrictions are less. When we visited in march 2022, it felt that Tirana just came out of its bubble. Talking of beer bubbles, put these spots in your memory bank. Bräuhaus Tirana has made nine different beers and brew on site. This can be a good start but be prepared that not all beers are available. But food is. Puka brewery brews IPA and some ale but it can be hard to find a bottle. So need to ask around a bit. Puka has no brewpub yet and the brewery is outside town.
Duff bar is named after the beer brand that appears in Simpsons. They serve a few beers on tap, often a craft beer and has a good list with imported beers. Mainly Belgian and German but also modern IPAs. Most likely the best beer place in town. Calm place with out door seating. Remember that its allowed to smoke inside so places where you can sit outside are valuable after a few days of smoke diving.
Tirana is a small town so its easy to walk around and try local beers. Korca, Cek and Birra Tirana are good beers to refresh with after a long walk. There is espresso coffee everywhere so its possible to alternate coffee and beer during the early afternoon. Lagers cost less than a euro/dollar and some smaller bars charge less for a draft. Dont be afraid
There was a proper tap room with focus on craft beer called Tap House Tirana but its closed. After Duff, Local Kitchen and Beer Bar is good to visit. Cosy place which suits for both romantic dinners and beer sampling. The food is excellent and less than six euro for a plate of mixed sausage/salami.
Local Kitchen and Bar has around 40 different beers, not bad and all of them around 2-4 euro. Same beers in Abu Dhabi would cost 8-16 euro.
If you want to visit a bar that also turns into a very popular club later on, visit Whiskey Bar Tirana which also has a nice boutique hotel. They have both a good beer selection and nice cocktails. Just 2-3 minutes walk from Local Kitchen and Bar.
As variation, a cocktail Bunker 1944 Lounge or Radio Bar Tirana could be good, they have a good beer selection as well. The place is HBTQ-friendly like many bars in in Tirana. Overall, people are very polite, helpful and easy going despite the tough history. The country was run by dictator Enver Hoxha from WW2 until 1985. The result of his madness is still visible today. He built 700 000 bunkers around the country, in case somebody would attack. One of many reasons why Albania has been among the poorest countries in Europe. The bunkers are today popular tourist sites. Albania is also the major exporters of marijuana to Europe. But during the visit in Tirana and Durres we felt very good vibes and people are friendly. We travelled with local busses and other passengers always helped us finding the destinations. Most cities have google maps synchronised with local transportation so you can follow buses in real time. But Tirana and also Sarajevo doesn’t have that feature yet so you have ask around which is social but time consuming.
Wine in Albania
Sorry beer nerds ! We have to mention wines as well. There are many interesting wineries even if the wine history is short. There was a few wineries around 1980 but the taste was poor and Albanian was considered a no-go for the wine connoisseur. The volumes have trippled since then and we expect that the piece about Albania in wine guides will be longer than just one page. There are many wineries but we decided to visit just this one because of its good reviews and nice setting. Most of the farms are only accessible by car but Uka Farm is easy to reach with bus and some walking.
Uka farm is just outside town. Take a bus to the shopping mall QTU and walk 30 min or take taxi. They have six or seven wines and what’s interesting is that one of the wines is made with the local grape Kallmet. Very exotic to try new grapes. Wines are served inside during the winter and the food is great. A small but good menu. Staff and owner are doing their best to welcome visitors.
Other Albanian grapes are Shesh, Vlosh and Debin. The production is increasing every year and wines are developing. There are many wine shops around town but also in Durres which is the coastal town you should visit. Bus goes back and forth several times per day. The wine shops in Durres sell many other wines then in Tiranas shops which focus more on Italian/French and a handfull local wines.
Next week we are exploring the beer scene in Belgrade, Dogma brewery, Kabinett brewery and much more.
Abu Dhabi Beer Man
PS. A Guide in Swedish to Craft beer in Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia will be published in Beer beer magazine Maltesen the coming month.
This is the ultimate beer guide with detailed info on prices and beers around town. Regular updates with information about new beers and affordable offers will be posted every second month. If you are interested in beer on tap and bars – read this bar guide with info about where to get craft beers and the best tap selections.
The alcohol shops can be hard to find but you can easy single them out when you are passing them. Dark tinted windows or mainly no windows with very modest design and a small black door. More or less exactly the same way you can spot a bar in Morocco. These shops are open from 9 am to 10 PM every day in the week and differ in prices and selection. Some have better beer selection while others tend to focus on the best sellers which often are the 8 and 12 % strong beers and off course Heineken, Stella Artois, Krombacher and other lagers. All has also cold beers and ice which comes handy during the hot summer months.
Alcohol selling chains in Abu Dhabi
Cheers has five shops in Abu Dhabi and also a online store. They focus on wine but does also have a good beer selection. Many craft beers are sold by cheers and prices are among the lower.
Spinneys Beverages has seven shops in Abu Dhabi . Often smaller shops with little bit of everything and classic beer supply.
High Spirits has seven shops but is also a main importer so a lot of things goes through them. Good selection of beer. They have also a bigger shop in Ghantoot close to Dubai where many goes for the bigger buy ins of drinks.
African+Eastern has nine shops in Abu Dhabi and the selection of beer is good and if you want to have craft beer its best to visit their shop in downtown Abu Dhabi (Khlaidiya area).
There is also a few smaller shops around town which will be highlighted in later posts.
Categories of beer in Abu Dhabi
Lager beers like Heinken, Stella Artois, San Miguel, Singha, Amstel, Carlsberg and Corona is easy to find cold while most other beers are sold at room temperature. The huge segment of beers 8-8.5 % strong with suprisingly low prices seems to dominate when it comes to quatities in many shops. Beers like Kingfisher, OJ and Red Horse seems to be sold more than any regular lager beer.
Belgian beers like Leffe Blond and Leffe Brune are found everywhere at good prices as well as Hoegarden, Grisette and Duvel.
Craft beers are harder to find and the prices tend to be much higher. Look out for next post about craft beer in Abu Dhabi – coming soon.
Next detailed update on beer in coming in January and will be followed by monthly updates on beer news by ABU DHABI BEER MAN.
Is it legal to drink in UAE ? Can i buy beer in Dubai and do i need a permit to visit bars in Abu Dhabi?
It can be confusing for tourists and expats to know how to understand the alcohol laws in the United Arab Emirates. But it’s all very easy and relative liberal. Laws have been eased as well and there is no need to get a license to drink as was required before. In Abu Dhabi, you can buy and drink as long as you are over 21 years old and non muslim but in Dubai you might need a permit to buy alcohol in a shop but no permit is required when visiting bars and restaurants.
All tourists in Dubai can buy and consume alcohol without any permit. Since late 2020 there is no permits at all in Abu Dhabi. There are different rules through out the Emirates but as a tourist you are exempted from most of it. But there are a few things to think about. Don’t carry alcohol open in the street or drink in public. You can still enjoy beer and wine at many restaurants and bars outside but sitting and drinking in parks and on the streets is not allowed.
Where can i buy beer in the UAE ?
There are more than 20 shops selling alcohol in Abu Dhabi as well as in Dubai and most of them are open from 09.00 until late. Beer prices are slightly more expensive than in the US or UK. Wine is often much more expensive and standard wines from Jacobs creek and Torres for example tend to cost almost the double. For 5 AED you can get a 5 % lager beer, 6 AED for a Leffe or Tsingtao wheat/IPA bottle. Any wine with ok taste costs at least 30 AED but vodka/gin/rum is affordable. This blog is focused on Abu Dhabi but check onThe Tasting Class guideto alcohol shops in Dubai.
The number of bars and restaurants selling beer and other drinks is high and most bars has at least four beers on tap. There is even craft beer available at some places and many shops sell craft beers from Brewdog, Sierra Nevada and many French and Belgian breweries.
There are plenty of cheap beers on 8 and 12 %, most of them taste terrible but are widely consumed by guest workers and beer tasters. The famous Red horse from the Philippines can be found anywhere.
Sometimes you can also find some nicer beers for ok prices but craft beers are often 15-35 AED each which is a bit steep.