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For years, Abu George's bar in Damascus' Old City served imported beers under portraits of famous foreigners Che Guevara and Marilyn Monroe – but the brews on offer now are Syrian-made. When war broke out in 2011, Syria's two main breweries halted production, letting consumers sip on foreign, and more expensive, beers.Customers at Abu George's bar reach out for a few of the brown bottles, emblazoned with a blue and gold label proclaiming Afamia to be the "Beer of Syria".Before 2011, two local brews dominated the Syrian market: Barada, produced at a brewery outside Damascus, and Al-Sharq, based in second city Aleppo.Along Syria's Mediterranean coast, a second brewery is churning out another brew – with Czech help."The Czech Embassy kept its doors open, so the contact is easier between our two countries," Abbas says.But the beer itself, he insists, is 100 percent Syria-produced.
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