Craft beer is relatively young in Belize. In a market long dominated by the Bowen Co, makers of Belikin, the country didn’t have many beer options aside from a few other Caribbean imports such as Carib (Trinidad & Tobago), Red Stripe (Jamaica), and Kuhbuli (the DR). Bowen and Bowen also distribute their Belize-brewed Guinness, Heineken, and Landshark. There was the short-lived Island Time Brewing in San Pedro a few years ago but before Hobbs entered the scene, Belikin had the undisputed monopoly. While Belikin is and will always be the beer of Belize, it is so nice to have some new choices on the market. Introducing Two-5’s Craft Brewing, a sister company to Bowen and Bowen who is making small-batch beers that incorporate local ingredients.
Two-5’s isn’t mass producing and so distribution is limited at the moment to exclusive suppliers. The Placencia Beach Club is the only place in southern Belize where you can sample their beers. I’ve written about the Beach Club before here and this week they celebrated their 2nd birthday with discounts and the debut of their new menu PLUS the launch of these new craft beers. They have five innovative, and a bit unconventional, creations that are just so delightfully different than Belikin…on tap! Don’t you just love a draft beer? It hits different than a bottle and there’s precious few places on the peninsula with keg set ups but PBC is one of them. Check it out!
My favorite is the Bird Pepper Porter, a smooth dark beer with just the right hint of heat that hits you in the finish and beckons you to take another sip and then just another sip until, whoops, your glass is finished! I tried it with the Beach Club’s new lobster ceviche and it was SO good- the fresh clean flavors from both, the subtle heat in each was just the right kick in my opinion. This beer would pair perfectly with smoked meat too. Another fan favorite is the florally Fever Grass brew (a Belgium wheat style); light and super fragrant, everyone was remarking that they could happily drink this all day long in the heat. I personally found it too perfume-y (not a word) but it was the crowd’s top choice. Fever grass is lemongrass, the names are used interchangeably here but I suppose locals are more apt to use the term fever grass when referring to this ingredient that has a long history of use in home remedies and bush medicine.
My choice for runner-up of the five (not that MY opinion really matters, if you have the chance, you should try all of them and decide for yourself which are your favorites… but it is my blog so let’s pretend I’m some sort of connoisseur with an expertly refined palate and not just your average beer swilling beach bum) is the Mamey Smash Pale Ale. Mamey is a tropical fruit that is also called Sapodilla, I wrote about it before here, and is usually super sweet- I describe it as the cotton candy of fruit. But this beer isn’t super sweet! It hints at sweet; it makes a casual, off-the-cuff comment about being sweet but it’s actual quite clean and crisp- this is the one I’d pick to enjoy all day long. I’d merrily drink the Mamey Smash over ice (is that beer-drinking-blasphemy?) for hours on a caye day or lounging by a river with friends.
The other brews they have right now are a Banana Bread Hefeweizen and a Valencia orange IPA. I’ve never been an IPA person (somehow they always taste like soap on my tongue) but this one is pretty good; definitely more orange flavor than hops heavy. The Banana Bread beer isn’t very fruit forward it is more yeasty (another non-word). I joked that I couldn’t distinguish the banana but I certainly tasted the bread in it. If I don’t let myself get hung up on trying to search out the banana flavor then I can really appreciate how nice this brew is. Slightly cloudy, the Banana Bread has substance; a nice middle ground beer to be savored with a meal rather than before or after one.
Speaking of meals… have one around the pool at Placencia Beach Club and indulge all your senses. Let the warm sun soak in to your skin as you gaze out at the Caribbean Sea and listen to the breeze rustle the palm fronds overhead. The new menu includes one of my all-time favorites: coconut shrimp! I don’t know why more places don’t do coconut shrimp—we have the coconut we have the shrimp, but many menus do not list this tasty treat. Check out the menu below and follow their Facebook page for daily specials.
So, have you tried any of the new craft beers in Belize (either at the Beach Club or at the international airport or in Di Bruwry)? What do you think? Let me know in the comments! I’m hoping to drop in for a brewery tour later this week when I’m in Ladyville to pick up some friends that I have visiting.