Thursday, March 19, 2009

BELIZE 2: Beerlize

The only beer in Belize. Well, this wasn't the ONLY beer in Belize. That would have sucked. There were lots of them, but this was the only KIND of beer.

I didn’t notice this while we were in Belize, but Tania pointed it out when we got home. “Did you notice that there was ZERO fast food there?” she said. “None at all. Nothing even close.” She’s right, there were no fast food restaurants in Belize. Most noticeably: no McDonald’s. After a little research on the internet, it’s true, Belize is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a McDonalds. Pretty cool. (Belize did have a fast food burger place, though, called HL’s burgers. It’s a local establishment and it’s been around for 30 years, but apparently it just filed for bankruptcy last month? Not much info.)

The one area where we immediately noticed the lack of imports while we were there, however, was beer. You can only get one beer in Belize: Belikin. From WIkipedia:

The name "Belikin" comes from the Maya language and means "Road to the East". This is a term which some have suggested is the origin of the name of "Belize" (although the most accepted derivation says the name comes from the Belize River, meaning "muddy"). The Belikin label features a drawing of a Pre-Columbian Maya temple-pyramid at Altun Ha.

Belikin makes three beers: regular (a light lager, it’s what you get when you order a “beer”), Lighthouse Lager (which is really hoppy, I didn’t care for it), and Stout. I didn’t even try the stout. I’ve had enough stouts over the years to know that if it doesn’t say “Guinness” on it, I don’t like it.

I don’t even like Guinness [Tania's text in blue], so I too stayed way the fuck away from the stout. And I also noticed that many of the locals stayed away from the stout as well. I guess it was because they, like Dave, preferred Guinness. I can’t think of a grosser liquid to pour into my mouth on a hot, humid day, but they had it and they drank it. Yep, they had Guinness there. Guinness and Red Stripe were the ONLY other beers besides Belikin we saw the entire time. Red Stripe, being kind of understandable due to Belize’s proximity to Jamaica, but Guinness? I found out that the Belizean Guinness is bottled and distributed locally by Belikin brewery as well (they had a serious monopoly on beer), so it probably didn’t even taste like “real” Guinness, whatever that is. And all the uppity micks who insist that it doesn’t even tastes like a Guinness unless it’s actually poured in Dublin would have had a shit fit about Belizean Guinness, I’m sure. I wouldn’t know, because that crap tastes like stale coffee no matter where it’s poured (I’ve had it in Dublin, thanks. It’s still booty). So in Belize I stuck with Belikin, mostly because I had no choice, and I have no complaints at all.

The Lighthouse Lager had a very strong, bitter flavor. A little overpowering. It kind of tasted like New Zealand’s (now Coors’) Steinlager. But the regular Belikin was good. It was exactly what it said it was: beer. It was crisp, cold, not unlike any American shelf beer, like Coors. It was a perfect warm weather beer. And we drank a lot of them. In fact, they went down so easily that I began to grow suspicious of the bottles.

It seemed like a full 12 oz bottle of Belikin went down way faster than a 12 oz bottle of Coors. Was it because we were closer to the equator, or were the bottles smaller? They were definitely heavier. An empty bottle of Belikin was as heavy as a full bottle of American beer. (I wondered how those Boozy the Clown motherscratchers would approach a bottle of Belikin?) Was the glass so thick that it was displacing a couple ounces of beer? My conclusion, which isn’t based on any evidence whatsoever, is that they were jipping me a couple ounces. Sneaky fuckers.

This, incidentally, was the view from our balcony in Placencia. They advertised it online as "40 feet from the water" and we were, literally, 40 feet from the Caribbean Sea. More on that later.

And I suspect that, like Mexico, the brewery likes to hold on to their massive glass bottles and recycle the things (They do. Every Belikin bottle gets recycled an average of ten times). It was a couple days before I figured it out. Every time we ordered a beer, the bartender would make a great effort to wrap the neck in a napkin and cram it into the hole. Every beer. We didn’t know what to do with all the napkins. By the end of the night, we’d both have pockets full of ‘em. Then it finally dawned on me, “Oh. They probably recycle the bottles, but don’t clean them very well.” So the napkin was offered to clean off the previous owner’s ass face AIDS lips. Once I figured that out, I cleaned the shit out of every bottle I got before taking a sip.

If you’re not in Belize and are interested in trying a Belikin, by the way, you’re out of luck. Well, sort of. They only export 1000 cases a year and all of those cases, apparently, are exported to Los Angeles. So if you really want to be a douche and get some hard to find beer that’s no better than the stuff on the shelf at your local grocery store (highly marked up too. They go for $2 US at a store… and between $3 - $4 US at a bar in Belize), you can probably find some at some fancy pants importer around here, if that’s your thing. It’s probably cheaper to fly to Belize.

Our balcony in Placencia.

I thought it important that you know what we were drinking before I start telling you about where we were drinking it.


Anonymous said...

In Costa Rica they have this beer called Limon Ice. It's a can of strong beer with salt and citrus flavor added and it tastes like armpits.

Unknown said...

do they have coconut water in costa rica? because i tried that shit in belize and it tasted like stagnant dishwater.

Tasty Morsel said...

Those product shots are one of a kind.

Unknown said...

was that sarcastic? because it should have been, those product shots are everyone's vacation shots. just check wikipedia's user-submitted belikin pic:

Anonymous said...

I don't remember seeing coconut water in Costa Rica, but they have it at the market by my work. Cooking with it supposed to be a good idea.