Beers of the Caribbean (Scorchio!)

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Jan 14th, 2012
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Do not attempt if the weather report is not Scorchio!

Let’s face it … the best thing about drinking a Caribbean lager is that you’re in the Caribbean when you’re drinking it.

If you’re on the beach in Barbados, the local Banks beer has a certain appeal.  Sure it tastes a bit like Corona without the lime.  But you didn’t go to Barbados for the beer.

It’s the same reason that you drink Balashi in Aruba.  (Although, admittedly, we did find a very nice Belgian Beer Bar in Aruba when we were there a couple of years ago.)   The sun is hot (Scorchio!), and the cold lager is refreshing.

Today's Weather Report: Scorchio!

I’d have a hard time telling the difference between a Carib in Trinidad & Tobago and a Kalik in the Bahamas.

Amstel Bright (I think it’s brewed in Curaçao, but I encountered it in Aruba) and Medalla Light (Puerto Rico) have such a pale yellow color that … wait … ignore those tasting notes, I think it was cloudy the days I tried those beers.  Or maybe it was at an airport bar … the farther away from a sunny beach, the lower the score.

Somehow, at a beach bar, these nondescript supposed beers, become a fond remembrance of a great vacation.  These memories are the reason that you occasionally stumble and order a Red Stripe later in the evening.  At least Jamaica has a couple of strong stouts for when you tire of the Red Stripe (I like Dragon Stout, but Jamaica Stout is good too).

Antidote for scorchio!

That’s why I was so surprised to taste Wadali beer earlier this year in Antigua!  Maybe the weather was more scorchio than usual.  Or maybe I was dehydrated from too many rum drinks in the sun.  But this was a delicious surprise.  While light and refreshing, there was something of a little extra hop zing in this one that seems to be missing from other island lagers.  And then there’s the smell … I have to admit that there’s a bit of a funky skunky smell that you encounter, especially when you first pop off the cap.  But it’s not so skunky that it scares you off, it actually invites you in.  The funk offers promise that you might actually be drinking a beer … and if you’ve been trapped on a cruise for the past week, that promise is good enough.

(Side note:  Ok … St. John’s Brewers does have some interesting non-lagers in the US Virgin Islands, but every bottle I saw said it was brewed by Shipyard in Maine, so I’m not sure they qualify as Caribbean beers.)


And now, the weather report: