A quick guide to the beers of the Caribbean
The Caribbean is home to a wealth of fresh and vibrant flavours, with some fantastic cuisine on offer and plenty of tipples available to tickle your taste buds.
But, whilst it goes without saying that the Caribbean is best known for its rum, the range of Caribbean beers on offer frequently fall under the radar. Often eclipsed by their European counterparts and largely ignored by beer connoisseurs throughout the world, Caribbean beer can provide a real taste of paradise.
And, with beer ranging from light lagers to full-bodied stout, there’s something for everyone on a trip to the region. Here, we’ve provided a quick guide to beers of the Caribbean.
10 Saints (Barbados)
This handcrafted beer is brewed in Speightstown, Barbados, and combines two of the best things in life: lager and rum. Uniquely aged using the Mount Gay distillery’s ‘Special Reserve’ rum casks, this process results in a light, refreshing lager balanced with a hint of spice from the oak cask background.
Strong Back Stout (The Bahamas)
Brewed by the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, this truly breaks the mold of Caribbean beer. Moving away from light blonde lager to a full-bodied, smooth and rich stout, it has a strong taste without a bitter aftertaste. It has tasting notes of roast malt and a slight chocolatey hint, typical of a stout. However, it has been described as less harsh than most stouts, more similar to a rich lager with more flavour.
Banks Beer is a household name across Barbados, offering a range of products to suit all beer lovers. The original pilsner-style lager is perhaps the best well known, but newer offerings should not be missed. The Seven Strong lager is a very heavy hitter, and not for the faint-hearted, with an alcohol percentage most beer lovers would balk at. The Stallion Milk stout, on the other hand, offers a sweet experience with hints of chocolate and roasted coffee.
The national beer of Dominica, this lager is a taste of the island in a bottle. Refreshing and light, the water used for the brewing is pulled directly from Loubiere spring in lush island surroundings. The name is short for Waitukubuli, the Carib Indian name for the island, and sums up this lager as the essence of Dominica.
Red Stripe (Jamaica)
No list of Caribbean beer would be complete without Red Stripe, which has become synonymous with the Jamaican way of living. The most famous beer to come out of the Caribbean, Red Stripe offers an international flavour: using hops from the US, grain from Canada, France, and the UK, and fresh well water from Jamaica, this amber lager comes together with a clean and fresh taste.
Turk’s Head Brewery (Turks and Caicos)
Producing the Turks and Caicos islands’ only locally brewed beer, these offerings offer a range of flavours with unique names. ‘I- Ain- Ga- Lie’ is the quintessential Caribbean lager, with a delicate flavour and smooth finish, whilst ‘Down- Da- Road’ has fruity aromas of papaya to make a delightful IPA.
Blackbeard Ale (US Virgin Islands)
Although not as a ferocious as the notorious pirate, this full-bodied English style amber ale still has a bit of an edge. With an aroma of rum, it has a malty front with a hint of nutmeg and cream at the back of the palate, which makes it a heavier beer than most. However, its carbonation means it can still keep you fresh in the Caribbean heat.
Ironshore Bock (Cayman Islands)
Brewed by the Cayman Islands Brewery, this is a strong diversion from the typical Caribbean beer. Named after the indigenous rock, it’s a strong, sharp and dark flavour, with a 7% abv. Using roasted dark German malt, this creates a rich roast coffee aftertaste. Caybrew and White Tip Lager are also firm favourites of this brewery, with Caybrew the most common beer on the islands.
The official beer of Trinidad and Tobago, this lager has been bottled since the 1950’s. Now brewed on Grenada and St Kitts & Nevis as well, this lager can be found through the region and is perfect for a crisp, refreshing experience after a day in the sun. Balanced, full-bodied and smooth, it is a continental style brew that is a symbol of the Caribbean: full of ‘energy and warmth’ that’s ‘tempered by a cool sea breeze’!
For some more Caribbean beers, this post by Large Up and this one by Fox News offer some great examples. We hope this has given you a bit of inspiration for your Caribbean vacation, and you can enjoy some cool beers in one of our many bars!