The President of Island Beers? Si, Presidente!
Have you ever tried a Presidente beer? This tropical libation in the green glass bottle is brewed in the lovely Caribbean country called the Dominican Republic. Although the Island Runaways have enjoyed a Presidente more than a few times, we’d never tasted one in the Dominican Republic itself, prior to this recent trip.
This week we had the chance to drink both Presidente and Presidente Light on the incredibly soft sand beaches on the island’s east coast. So, would the Caribbean setting make the beer taste better? And would a Presidente that had not been transported overseas be more delicious or in any way different? These are pressing matters of international importance! So, in order to report back to you with reliable information, we sampled a bottle here, there, and well, not quite everywhere. But our research was, shall we say…thorough?
A little background: Presidente was invented back in 1935, but first as a dark beer. Later, in the 1960’s, the company began producing it as a pilsner or pale lager. In the DR folks drink their beer very cold. How cold is very cold? Expect to see frost on the bottle. In fact, you can order a beer by asking for “una fría.”
So one thing we noticed right away, as we hunkered down for scientific research at a little bar overlooking the Punta Cana beach, was that in fact the beer was so incredibly chilly that it really did seem just shy of being frozen solid. (Also, bottles were served with a napkin wrapped around the top. Perhaps for hygiene, so you could wipe the mouth of the bottle?)
At any rate, we tasted. And tested. We re-tested. It was tough work, but someone’s got to do these things.
The verdict? On a hot day under the Caribbean sun, really, really freezing cold Presidente is the way to go. Once or twice, the beer was served in a plastic cup or mug, and then it was noticeably warmer, and guess what? While it tasted fine, it did not have that crisp, ultra cold refreshing effect. The Dominicans are onto something. Yes, Presidente should be enjoyed “bien fría.”
That being said, we didn’t otherwise notice a significant difference between the Presidente on the island and the Presidente we get served in a restaurant State-side. The beer seemed remarkably consistent, which may mean that the company is doing a great job exporting their product.
One thing that did impress us was the ubiquity of Presidente. We saw Presidente chairs, Presidents signs, Presidente umbrellas, you name it, they put the brand on it.
And it was also our impression that Dominican bartenders and servers are truly proud of their national brew. And so they should be! It’s a delicious drink, perfect for tropical climes, which needs no improvement. And Presidente Light? For those seeking a lighter beer, this is a tasty choice.
From now on, however, if I order a Presidente in our home base of Florida, it won’t feel right unless the bottle has a bit of white frost around the label. Somehow, the extreme temperature suits the beer’s flavor just perfectly. At home you could put it in the freezer (although don’t forget or the bottle might explode)!
As the sun fell to the west and the sky grew soft with rosy pinks and golden clouds, we settled back into our chairs, raked our toes through the sand, and toasted to another successful Island Runaways research project – with Presidentes, of course!