National Beer Day: An Ode to Red Stripe

Photo by Joe Pike

The name, the bottle, the tagline, the taste - What’s not to love about Jamaica’s “Hooray Beer?”

As Travel Agent’s Caribbean expert, I usually love to uncover a hidden gem in the region, a nugget of information that even the most seasoned travel professionals weren’t aware of. 

That will not be the case here as my favorite beer is one very much known by the mainstream. 

So, in honor of National Beer Day, allow me to publicly share my love of Jamaica’s Red Stripe lager, simply my favorite beer to drink in warm weather. 

In fact, my love of Jamaica’s local brew was even documented by one of the biggest newspapers in the country, The Gleaner, back in 2009. Jamaica’s then director of tourism, John Lynch, presented me with that year’s Marcia Vickery Wallace Memorial Award for a story that required on-site coverage of a jerk chicken festival in Ocho Rios. 

What made that so challenging for me was that I had given up alcohol for Lent that year and instead had to wash down my spicy jerk chicken with a Diet Coke as others knocked back those cold, perspiring Red Stripe bottles.

So, Lynch presented me with both a plaque and a six pack of Jamaica’s finest. It was even wrapped in a ribbon with Jamaica’s flag colors. Since that day, there isn’t a Jamaican or even Caribbean travel professional who isn’t aware of my affection for the little, brown, medicine bottle-shaped Red Stripe. 

Here’s why I love it so much.

The challenge for most Caribbean beers, from Carib to Stag to Piton, is making it both tasty and easy to drink in the hot Caribbean sun. Carib and Piton, both of which I also favor, are just a tad too watered down to be my favorite, while two or three Stags can leave you a bit bloated, lowering your chances of winning that limbo contest at your hotel.

Red Stripe is the best of both worlds. 

It is especially easy to drink for a pale lager and doesn’t compromise taste. It doesn’t pack a heavy punch at 4.7 percent alcohol volume, enabling travelers to enjoy some brews during the day while still being able to function when the sun goes down and the volume of Jimmy Cliff music goes up.

The Single Best Red Stripe I Ever Had

It was about four years ago as a guest of my favorite Port Antonio, Jamaica hotel, The Trident Hotel, when I found myself sipping a cold Red Stripe at night with the waves crashing against the rocks that separated the plunge pool I was lounging in from the ocean. While cranking Bob Marley’s “Rastaman Chant,” I cherished every sip.

Visit www.visitjamaica.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.