THE CARIBBEAN has given me some interesting beers. The unremarkable yet popular Red Stripe for instance. And what must be nearly the world’s most popular stout, the awesome Dragon Stout. So I’m curious to know. Is Carib Lager from Trinidad and Tobago going to be a Red Stripe or a Dragon Stout of a drink?
This bottle came from a shop up Dalston way. And I must say, it looks like Summer in bottled-beer form. Like some of those Latin-world beers. I feel an urge to dunk a slice of lemon in it.
The neck-label starts the way it goes on. By keeping things simple.
Apart from the name “Carib Lager”, it has the words “Premium” and “Caribbean”. Clearly, the brewer, whoever it is, wants to keep things simple. There is almost nothing to read, anywhere on the bottle.
Look the front-label. Nothing but the essentials. Like both Dragon Stout and Red Stripe, the bottle is a diminutive 275ml. Useful if you’ve got a half-pint glass to hand.
The alcoholic volume is a respectable 5.2%. And it was brewed by the Carib Brewery in Champs Fleurs on the island of Trinidad. Maybe the back label has some more information about the beer or where it came from?
No. No it doesn’t have any more information about the beer or where it came from. What it does have is a big list of importers. The importer for the UK is also the only one with a web addressed printed on the label. And they are called Global Brands, with a web site at www.globalbrands.co.uk.
All facts which are as boring as the ingredients. “water, malted barley, sugar, hops” are the order of the day. And it has a modest 1.4 UK units of alcohol.
If you like your bottled beer to have lots of interesting things for you to read, look elsewhere. This is one of the most straightforward, no-nonsense bottles of beer you can find. I kept expecting to discover that it was Australian. But no, it really is a “Product of Trinidad and Tobago”.
So, what does Carib Lager taste like? Will I like it? And do I think you should buy it? I’m looking forward to cracking it open and finding out…
The looks aren’t a surprise. You could see everything form inside the bottle. It does fit your half-pint glass perfectly though. There’s not even a head to froth over the top.
How does it smell? It’s a lager, so the smell will never be surprising. Carib Lager does somehow manage to be a tiny bit different. There’s something citric and tangy about the way this blend of malted barley smells..
What does it taste like? Well, it’s a lager, so it’s not going to have any flavour. Duly, Carib Lager has no flavour. What of the taste? Most lagers have a bitter aftertaste “bite”. Does Carib Lager? Kind of. It has a bitter “bite”, but a gentle one. A couple of seconds later, it becomes a bit more intense. Then it just goes.
Nearly half-way through now, so what am I enjoying about Carib Lager? Unusually for a lager, this chilled bottle of Carib Lager is not bad. Although that might have something to do with how cold it is. I doubt it would be so good if it were warmer. I like how the taste isn’t as awful as some lagers. I like how clean and refreshing it is. I like how easy to drink it is. I like how it isn’t very gassy. And I think it would be lovely on a hot, sunny day.
What don’t I like about Carib Lager? I don’t like the fact that it’s a lager. If the Carib Brewery turned their hand to a proper beer, and if Carib Lager is anything to go by, I’m sure the results would be very good. As it is, there’s no interesting flavour. And the taste is as uninspired as the average soap-opera plot. If you have your heart set on Carib Lager, you’re in for disappointment. So far, I’ve only seen one shop selling it. There are probably more out there, but you can’t count on it.
How can I sum up Carib Lager? Not bad for a lager. This is what I expected all those Spanish, Italian and South American lagers to be like. Light, crisp and refreshing. Just don’t expect any sophisticated flavour or taste. It’s a rainy day here in London, but I’m guessing it would be great on a sunny day or with a spicy meal.
Have you tried Carib Lager? Do you know what reputation it has, back in the Caribbean? If so, then leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.