Sunday, November 1, 2015

Famosa (Gallo) of Guatemala

Famosa beer (Gallo in its home country) is a beer introduced in Guatemala in 1896. The flagship beer of Cervecería Centro Americana Sociedad Anónima, founded by the Córdova family in Guatemala City, it is found in some retail outlets in the USA (bottles and cans). Most shops where it is sold cater to Central American immigrant populations.

At 5% alcohol, this mild and mellow American-style pale lager should appeal to many regular beer drinkers and should pair well with Meso-American dishes. It does receive major television and radio advertising attention in Guatemala, but only limited point-of-sale promotion in the United States of America.

I have sampled this beer, from both the can and bottle, and can attest to its smooth flavor. The drinker will find that Gallo (Famosa) is more alike than unlike other mass-produced American beers. A sampling is recommended.


Thursday, October 1, 2015


Prestige is the number one beer of Haiti, and it was the first beer produced in that country, beginning in 1976.

The founder of Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti (BRANA), Michael Madsen of Haiti, began construction of the brewery in 1973, and launched the beer in 1976. Madsen received training from the Heineken company and Heineken was contracted with for quality control advice and supervision. In 1988, Heineken acquired 22.5% of the company and obtained 95% of the stock in 2011.

Aside from Prestige lager beer, BRANA also produces Heineken, Desparados (tequila-flavored beer), and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

Coming in at 5.6% alcohol, Prestige is a strong lager, with a bold flavor. It has won two gold medals in the American-style lager category at the World Beer Cup (2000 & 2012). Availability in the United States is mainly in the Miami, Florida area. It is sold in 12-oz. cans and in 12-oz. and 50 CL bottles.


The Guinness variant brewed in Haiti (7.5% alcohol).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Presidente (President) is a 5% adjunct lager and a product of (mainly) the Dominican Republic.

Cervecería Nacional Dominicana was founded in 1929 in the Dominican Republic by American investors and named in honor of the dictatorial president, Trujillo. A popular beer, it was reformulated in the 1960s, transitioning from a dark lager into the present, golden lager, in order to appeal to a wider audience. Presidente is the most popular beer brand in the Antilles, Central America, and its home country. It is sold in a large number of American states, east of the Mississippi River. One will find it on draft, in 12-oz. and 24-oz. green bottles and in cans.

After being acquired by Anheuser-Busch/InBev in 2012, it's availability and advertising outreach was greatly expanded. Interestingly, the local company, Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, also distributes Miller brands in the Dominican Republic.

Presidente Light was introduced in 2007.

Presidente is described by the company as follows- "Presidente Beer brings you the true essence of the Caribbean! Nothing else can compare to its refreshing, smooth and lively taste. That’s why every sip becomes a celebration!" This writer can attest to its smooth, mellow flavor and its high drinkability. A sampling is recommended.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Red Stripe

Red Stripe is a world-famous lager, developed by Desnoes & Geddes of Jamaica, starting in 1928. At that time, Jamaica was a British colony, and the owners were British residents of the island country. According to the current owners, Diageo, who purchased D&G in 1993, Red Stripe lager was originally a much different beer, "heavy and dark- more like an ale". At some point, the beer was reformulated to its present, yellow-straw-golden presentation and light body.

Produced in Kingston, Jamaica, Red Stripe has been contract-brewed in Pennsylvania for the US market since 2012, and those labels will state, "Jamaican-style Lager" rather than the typical "Jamaican Lager" description. There is also a Red Stripe Light available for the light lager drinkers.

The consumer will find Red Stripe Lager in 11.2-oz. bottles, 24-oz. bottles, and 16-oz. cans. I was unable to ascertain the availability of a draft Red Stripe, at the time of this writing.

Having sampled Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light, this writer can attest to its light, bready, and highly drinkable character and, thus, its mass appeal. A sampling is suggested.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Banks Caribbean Lager

Banks Beer (Caribbean Lager) was introduced in 1955 by Banks DIH, Ltd. of then British Guyana, now a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. Brewing was expanded in 1961 when a sister brewery was opened in the British colony of Barbados (actually in the Atlantic Ocean), now an independent Commonwealth Realm. This beer, sold in cans, bottles, and on draft, is widely available in the British West Indies, and in some limited areas of the southern United States of America, especially in areas with a strong Anglo Caribbean-heritage population, like Miami, Florida.

Coming in a 4.5% alcohol, Banks beer is more alike than unlike other mass-produced American-style lagers, but with a large and loyal "island lifestyle" following, this beer is distinguished more by image that objective taste or aroma differentials, a commonality in the mass-produced and craft beer segments, in fact.

This writer has sampled Banks Caribbean Lager, and can testify to its crisp, mellow, and enjoyable flavor and its high drinkability. A sampling is strongly recommended.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


In 1988, Heineken International along with partners in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, established the Kalik lager brand, produced at the new Commonwealth Brewery, Ltd. (CBL) brewery, opened on the capital island of New Providence. This brand has become the most notable and best-selling Bahamian beer brand, and it is often sought after by tourists to the country. 

At 5% alcohol, Kalik is a full-bodied, premium beer sold in bottles, cans, and on draft. It is exported to select American outlets.

The name of the beer comes from the odd sound made by cowbells used in Bahamian celebrations.

This writer has sampled Kalik (from the clear bottle) and can attest to it's high drinkability, pleasant smoothness, and wide appeal.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Batch 19

Batch 19, from Molson-Coors, was introduced in c. 2009 as an attempt to reformulate a pre-prohibition lager beer, possibly similar to the old Coors Gold Beer.

Sold in bottles and on draft, this beer enjoyed an initial rush of television, radio, and print advertising attention, but this soon died off, and the beer presently sets on the shelf, left to fend for itself. As of 2015, sales seem to be minimal.

Batch 19 is as follows (from the website):

Appearance: A deep golden color that’s naturally filtered and unpasteurized; capped with a full, white head.
Aroma: Biscuity malt aroma with herbal notes from the Hersbrucker hops and black currant notes from the Strisselspalt hops.
Taste: Bold, hoppy taste that’s balanced by a subtle caramel maltiness.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-bodied lager with a moderate carbonation.
Finish: Crisp, clean finish with a lingering hop taste that gradually fades.
IBUs: 26
ABV: 5.5%
Food Match: The caramel malt character and herbal notes go great with any two- or four-legged animal that’s been roasted, braised, smoked, pan-fried, or charred. It goes especially well with bacon and strong cheese.

There is a back-story for this beer, which talks about how an old, filed recipe was recovered in 2004, but one wonders how much of the story has been embellished.

This writer has sampled Batch 19 on multiple occasions and can attest to the beer's wonderful flavor and high-quality production. A sampling is strongly recommended, as this brand may not be long for this world.