For this part of my exploration of all things beery, I’m heading off to distant, warmer climes.
Specifically, the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Barbados. As you know, I like to do these things
by increasing ABV, so we’ll start with Stallion Stout from Barbados.
Stallion is brewed by Banks Brewery in St Michael, Barbados (no relation to our own Banks’s
Brewery). Banks is best known for its most popular brew, the intriguingly named ‘Beer’. They also
brew other beers under their own name, Amber Ale, Milk Stout and the non-alcoholic Tiger Malt.
Banks is also the Barbadian producer of Guinness.
Stallion Stout is a new kid on the block, only having been brewed since late 2010. It’s not
desperately strong for a stout at a fairly easy-drinking 5%. It pours quite black with a light
brown head. The flavour is immediately sweet, with lactic tones that suggest milk stout. There is
lots of sweet malt in here, with clear coffee and chocolate notes. There are also, unusually, hints
of toast. There’s no getting away from it – this is very nice.
Island-hopping now, we move on to Jamaica, where a far more established stout is produced by
Jamaica’s well-known Red Stripe, a label owned by Desnoes & Geddes Brewery. Desnoes & Geddes
Brewery is also the local producer of Smirnoff Ice, Guinness (again) and Heineken. I refuse to
Desnoes & Geddes started producing Dragon Stout in 1920, just two years after the company was
formed by the merging of two shops. Rather heftier than its newer Barbadian sibling, Dragon Stout
packs a meaty 7.5% ABV. Again, and unsurprisingly, the beer pours black with a thin dark brown head
that clears very quickly after the pour. The taste is strong, sweet and fruity with chocolate
notes. There is a touch of spirituous overtones, and the finish is marked by a slight earthiness.
Overall, this is a nicely complex stout, and worth checking out if you see it on the shelves.
Both these stouts come in half pint (284 ml) bottles, disappointingly small, perhaps. There are
similarities between them – both are sweet, maybe an unfamiliar flavour for most drinkers of
British stouts. Both are worth trying though, as both are interesting variants on the type, and to
be quite honest, both are very enjoyable.
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