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.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Moosehead Lager

Moosehead Lager is the flagship beer of the Moosehead Brewery of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Sold worldwide, this lager is appreciated for it's crisp, clean, and refreshing aspects.

The Moosehead Brewery, formerly Army and Navy Brewery, was established in New Brunswick in 1867, the same year as Canada was created as a united country. Family owned, Moosehead produces a wide range of beers, although, one will mainly see the lager in America, and typically in the 12-oz., green bottles. Rated at 5% alcohol, this beer comes it at the same strength level as Budweiser or Coors Banquet.  It is rather common, so the consumer should be able to easily locate the beer in most major beer outlets and in many restaurants and taverns.

This writer has sampled Moosehead Lager many times and always appreciates its exceptional smoothness.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Budweiser Black Crown

At 6% alcohol, Budweiser Black Crown, (Budweiser Crown, in Canada), has been part of the Budweiser family of beers since Jan. 21, 2013. But, this beer's roots go back further in time.

Black Crown was actually the winning beer of the 2012 Budweiser Project Twelve experimental series and was originally known as Batch No. 91406 (named after a Los Angeles zip code). The head brewmaster at the Los Angeles brewery, Bryan Sullivan, lead the development team for this winning beer. After choosing this recipe, Anheuser-Busch (a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch/InBev) spent a fair amount of time and money to brand, package, and roll out the Black Crown, to much fanfare. This beer's success is questionable, however, and it remains to be seen if it will remain on the market, long term.

Available in 12-oz. and 24-oz bottles, cans of various sizes, and on draft, this beer is an attempt by Anheuser-Busch to re-present and re-image malt liquors, as their Hurricane and King Cobra malt liquor brands are seen, incorrectly, as low-grade offerings, from the company. The original Budweiser malt liquor, Budweiser Malt Liquor, of the 1970s, was an all-malt beer (with no rice or corn adjuncts) and was presented as a higher-level or more polished extra-strong beer, and in its heyday enjoyed strong advertising attention. Although Black Crown television and radio commercials are now rarely seen, one will still encounter a fair amount of point-of-sale materials at beer outlets.

Brewed with a blend of two-row barley malt, four types of American hops, and rice, Black Crown, like all of the Budweiser family, is aged on beechwood chips.

Drinkers looking for an extra-strong beer, with the renowned Budweiser quality assurance, may find Budweiser Black Crown to be a good malt liquor option.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Genesee Ice

Genesee Ice was introduced by the Genesee Brewing Company, today a subsidiary of Costa Rica's Florida Ice & Farm company, in 1993. Brewed at the Rochester, New York brewery, "Genny Ice" comes in at 5.5% alcohol, the same as Icehouse (by Miller), the original American ice beer. Genesee Ice is sold mainly in the northeastern U.S.A., typically in 12-packs of 12-oz. cans and single-sale 24-oz. cans. Bottles are also available in select locations.

I have sampled Genesee Ice on a few occasions and find that it can hold its own against other mass-produced ice lagers.

As with all Genesee brand beers, Genesee Ice receives no major television or advertising attention, although some point-of-sale promotional activity may occur.

"When you're looking for a rich, full-flavored beer, Genesee Ice is the perfect beer for you. Our brewmasters begin with only the purest natural ingredients. Then, ice crystals form in the beer during its aging process before it's filtered for the rich flavor Genesee Ice is known for."