Monday, July 16, 2012

Down Island Beer

Leaving the United States, means leaving behind access to many U.S. beers.  If your first stop is the Bahamas, you will want to stock up before you leave the States because beer in the Bahamas is about $50 per case as opposed to about $16 to $18 in the states.  I suspect most of the boats crossing the Gulf Stream have a lot of beer for ballast, Motivator did.
Motivator’s Engine Room Calendar
Controlling over 50% of the market share, Kalik is “The Beer of the Bahamas.”  It is available in Kalik Light, Kalik, and Kalik Gold.  Kalik Gold has an alcohol content of 7% by volume.  Kalik isn’t at all bad, and cruisers have been known to take a few cases of Kalik Gold back across the Gulf Stream.

Photograph by:  Digital Lady Syd
Sands Beer is probably number two in the Bahamas and has some very cute advertizing.  Someone told me that it tastes like Miller Light, and I would have to agree with that assessment.

The same brewery that makes Sands also makes High Rock.  In the Bahamas copyright infringement doesn’t seem to be a biggie, so I guess a label that is a cross between Rolling Rock and Heineken is not a concern.  High Rock is marketed as a lager, and I like lagers, but not so much this one.

Haeden and I enjoying a $5 Kalik at the Chat n’ Chill
An import tax on items entering the Bahamas explains the high cost for imported goods, but I could never understand why Kalik, Sands and High Rock, produced in the Bahamas, was the same price as Bud.

As you can see from the above chart Motivator was able to stock enough beer to make it through the Bahamas without paying the high prices, but the crew was getting nervous.  Good news though, rumor had it that Presidente Beer is readily available and reasonably priced in the Dominican Republic.  But more importantly, rumor also had it that Presidente tastes goooood. 

If you buy enough Presidente, they throw in a free cooler

Presidente Beer a pilsner was introduced to the Dominican Republic in 1935.  It has become part of the DR’s identity and is now exported to the United States and other Caribbean nations including Puerto Rico, Haiti, the US Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos, Curacao, Aruba, Tortola, St. Maarten and Grenada.

“Compañía Cervecera de Puerto Rico”
Medalla, if not “The Beer of the Caribbean” it is certainly the beer of Puerto Rico. 

Advertizing for Medalla is plastered everywhere.  Introduced in 1937, Medalla is a pale lager that has recently been introduced to the States.  Medalla is not bad, but given a choice I would probably opt for a Presidente.
Christiansted, St. Croix USVI
There is a lot of U.S. influence in St. Croix therefore I was able to find a Bud Light at the Window Bar, but not a Yuengling; I asked.

St. Barth’s
When you get down to the French Islands such as St. Martin and St. Barth’s there seems to be more of a beer selection.  Above I am enjoying a Red Stripe at Le Select in St. Barth’s.  Red Stripe, a lager, is advertised as a “Product of Jamaica,” but my guess is that it was brewed in nearby Antigua at the Antigua Brewery company that is also licensed to brew Guinness stout and Carib.  Their flagship product is Wadadli beer (introduced in 1993) which I will have to try on my next visit.  
Shell Beach, St Barth’s
(more about Carib later)

Biere Lorraine, a very tasty lager named after the French region of Lorraine, is said to be only available in Martinique.   I must say that I haven’t been able to find it except on Martinique and I have looked.
“Mystic Mountain Brew”
Named for the island’s most prominent geological feature, Piton Beer is king in St. Lucia.  One great feature about Piton Beer is its very active bottle recycling program.  The beer is sold locally in open plastic crates, and then the empty bottles are returned via the crates.

“St. Vincent’s Prize Winning Lager”
German brewery Haase Brauerei formed St. Vincent Brewery Ltd., and began producing Hairoun Beer in 1985.  We found it on Bequia and Union Island.  The can looks like it should contain a fruit drink, but it is a good light lager.

St. George’s, Grenada
The Carib Brewery is headquarter in Trinidad and Tobago that produces Carib and Stag beers along with other products.  While their main brewery is in Champs Fleurs, Trinidad, they also have breweries Saint Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.  Carib claims to be “The Caribbean Beer,” and certainly seems to have a large share of the Caribbean market.

I actually prefer their Stag brand over Carib, and it is not due to their advertizing slogan.

Look what I found hiding in the bilge!

After trying most of beers the Caribbean has to offer, I still prefer Yuengling, “by America’s Oldest Brewery.”


  1. Very useful blog, I must say!! --Rachel

  2. See: