Sufferhead

The recipe for sufferhead beer was developed based on feedback from interacting with African migrants living in Germany, especially Berlin. This information covered topics on migration, assimilation and multiculturalism, and the resultant data was developed to match beer-associated characteristics as close as possible. The beer characteristics include appearance, strength, mouth feel and flavour, and formed the basics for the selection of ingredients that made up the beer recipe. Sufferhead original is a gustatory experience in form of a beer that tastes like ‘home’ to the African migrants, the beer also communicates some of the perceived stereotypes associated with Africans.

The Sufferhead name was inspired by a Fela Kuti’s song “Original Suffer Head” that talks about the economic and political situation in Nigeria in the 1980s. The song draws attention to the deplorable state of the nation during this period, which led to mass emigration of some of its citizens. The name of the beer was also influenced by its strong alcoholic content, 8.2% ABV, and the chili flavour therein. Chili pepper is a ubiquitous component of West African gastronomy, the bite and fire of these hot peppers add a unique flavor as well as heat to the cuisine from that region.

The project does not end with the brewing of the beer, but further explores the politics of migration and integration through creating advertisement for the beer. The brewing and branding of Sufferhead Original beer continues to shed light on issues surrounding migration, especially from the Global South to the Global North. In creating a recipe for an opaque/black beer (stout), and brewing it using a method (craft brewing) that subverts the German beer purity law (Reinheitsgebot), the project utilizes beer as a platform to explore the politics of race and migration.