When it comes to beer i`ve had a few that has been in the cathegory of those i will really remember, like the locally made Abita strawberry in New Orleans that Chuck over at Gumbopages treated us to on our walk in the heat, or the oh so lovely peach beer i had in PA. I also very much like Singha from Thailand which is in the light cathegory – perfect for hot thai food, but i also like the dark and bitter..in other words – i like beer.
But there´s another one that is very special and which is a favorite and fortunately just like Singha also is available to me all the time – not an unimportant factor – and that´s the Jamaican Red Stripe. This beer is also nostalgia to me, it has been there for so many years at first introduced to me here by Caribbean friends and this really is a good beer – one of the best.
Red Stripe is good for all occasions and is one of those things that are really useful. I was even introduced to a drink containing the unlikely combo of Redstripe and Jwray (!) courtesy Rick “Kaiserpenguin” and Robert “Drinkdogma” in the Mixoloseum House during Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans…(where else would you get to taste such a combo?) did it taste any good? Honestly i think it did actually…as much as i can recall - i was mostly surprised.
Both Jwray and Redstripe are from Jamaica as is Appleton, Ting, good music and some very tasty food – yes that little island produces much good things. Now…Redstripe is a great beer to drink with grilled food, like chicken jerk for example. Its amazing how well things that comes from the same place pairs together – something to think about when one is experimenting with creating cocktails with new flavors or cocktail and food pairing.
IT STARTED AS AN ALE – TODAY IT’S A LAGER
The first Red Stripe was brewed in the year 1928 in the Surrey Brewery on Pechon Street in the heart of downtown Kingston by Thomas Hargreaves Geddes and Eugene Desnoes who formed Desnoes & Geddes Company Limited. The company was originally a soft drink manufacturer that was incorporated in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1918. The first brewed Redstripe in 1928 was an ale-like beer, dark and thick and Red Stripe didn´t gain any real popularity until the recipe was changed and Red Stripe became a lager style beer.The original Surrey Brewery on Pechon Street was eventually taken down and replaced in 1958 by the modern plant at Hunt’s Bay.
Red Stripe is considered a milestone in the history of Jamaica, because in 1962 when Jamaica gained independence from Britain ”The Daily Gleaner” wrote “the real date of independence should have been 1928, when we established our self respect and self confidence through the production of a beer far beyond the capacity of mere colonial dependants.”
Red Stripe as we know it today is not the same as it was - today it’s a light golden lager first brewed in 1934 by Paul Geddes and Bill Martindale. Desnoes & Geddes became part of the Guinness Brewing Worldwide (now DIAGEO) to distribute the yummy Red Stripe beer darling all over the world. Red Stripe beer is 4.7 percent alcohol.
Since 1976 Red Stripe has been brewed under license in the UK by the Bedford based brewers, Charles Wells. In the UK its packaged in cans. Those i buy here are sold in the original round little brown bottle with its painted label but maybe they have those too in the UK. I think this little distinctive bottle is important and the first efforts to sell this beer in the US in 1985 failed just because they tried to sell it in another type of bottle which was a green standard type of bottle That didn´t change until they started to sell it in its original bottle and with a little help of the increasing popularity of reggae.
Red Stripe is a big sponsor of reggae and ska concerts, as well as the annual Reggae Sunfest in Montego Bay. Red Stripe has also sponsored the Jamaican bobsled team and served as Caribbean regional sponsor for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
So to refresh my memory and put some awesomeness to my day i decided to make that drink again – Redstripe and Jwray - it cannot possibly be simpler – just add equal parts of them in a glass, make sure the beer is well chilled and then cheers!