Beers of the Caribbean
SCORCHING HOT DAY + ICE COLD BEER = REFRESHMENT PERFECTION
Words by Natasha Were
Beer may be a relative newcomer to the Caribbean – at least, compared to rum – but on a sizzling summer’s day, it’s the ultimate thirst quencher. While the barley-based brew can never claim to be a true island creation, due to the provenance of the raw ingredients, almost every island in the region is now brewing at least one signature ale or lager. Caribbean beers are many and varied, but all have been developed to combat the triple-figure temperatures and stupefying humidity. Lighter and crisper than their counterparts in northern climes, the beers of the region are designed primarily to be as easy to drink as they are refreshing.
Full bodied, full-flavoured and extremely quaffable, Red Stripe is as intrinsically Jamaican as jerk chicken and reggae. With hints of ginger, sweet corn and spice balanced by the bitter hops, the taste is as distinctive as the squat brown bottles it is served in. Brewed on the island since 1928, Red Stripe is best enjoyed with a plate of spicy, barbecued ribs and plenty of rice and peas.
Born in 2007, Caybrew, the premium lager of the Cayman Islands, had received an international gold medal from the Monde Selection Jury before it was a year old. Made with German malts, hops from the Cascade mountains and ultra-purified local water, it’s pale yellow in colour and light-bodied with a clean, crisp character.
A favourite tipple of locals and named after the sound of their cowbells, Kalik is considered a national treasure of The Bahamas. Full bodied, and golden in colour, it looks and tastes like sunshine in a bottle. Made by the Commonwealth Brewery since 1988, Kalik is mellow in the extreme, and all too easy to keep on reaching for.
Named after Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, president of the Dominican Republic, the ultra light pilsner has become one of the country’s most recognised exports, and can be found chilling in fridges throughout the Caribbean and beyond. A light, slightly sweet flavour and background notes of citrus make Presidente the ideal six-pack to head to the beach with and sip throughout the day.
A pilsner style lager, Banks has been the first choice of beer drinkers in Barbados for over 50 years. Brewed with malted barley and a flavoured by Galena and Styrian Holdings aroma hops, it is the pure Barbadian water – filtered through coral stone – that really gives this smooth, fresh lager its distinctive character.
The national beer of Dominica embodies the wilderness, nature and adventure the island is known for. Made with simple malted barley, hops and the freshest natural spring water, taken directly from the Loubiere spring that runs right past the brewery, it is light bodied, pale in colour and exactly what the doctor ordered after a hard day’s hiking in the rainforest.
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