Friday, September 9, 2011

When in Curacao, drink what the Curacaoans drink!

Polar: My first brew in Curacao!
Dushi!!!
So I am back from the beautiful island of Curacao, one of the "ABC Islands" just 35 miles northwest of Venezuela (Aruba and Bonaire are the other two) and "Dushi" is their big saying over there. I went to cover their annual North Sea Jazz Festival featuring Stevie Wonder, Branford Marsalis, Dionne Warwick, Chic, Sting and Earth Wind and Fire to name a few. It was an honor to see such legends rock the stage without missing a step. They killed it!
Of course, I had to scope out the beer scene, too.
Right off the plane, my driver heard about me, saw my site and was more than happy to break down the beer scene. Basically, Amsterdam's Amstel Brewery pulled out of Curacao a few years ago (October of 2005), leaving zilch brewed on the island. And ales? Not a sud. You're better off finding a three-legged ballerina. (Got that from one of my favorite flicks, Planes, Trains and Automobiles.) Not even a Guinness. Straight up lagers. So I said eff it and decided, "When in Curacao..."
The 'Irony Board': God and Climax on the same wall?
The Hyatt was pimpin'!
With that being said, my homey pulled over to a store on the side of the road, grabbed me an ice cold Polar "Pilsner Type Beer" (4.5% abv) straight from Venezuela and then we kept it moving. After five hours of flying, it was the perfect "Welcome to my island" gift. All 8 ounces of it. Yep, that is the size of the bottles here in Curacao but it was oddly just enough to hold me over...for a few minutes. I figure it's because it helps limit alcohol intake, preventing dehydration when sipping in the year-round warm weather. Anyway, it was cool sipping one while checking out the sites (check out what I call the "Irony Board") on the way to the absolutely gorgeous Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort. My dude assured me that they don't trip out too much with having a beer in the car. It's when you are drunk and have a beer in the car when things get gangster. We weren't...yet.
During my stay, I had a few half-pint bottles of Amstel Brights, set at 5% abv and pretty damn drinkable. This brew was a bit sweeter with more flavor and body than the Amstel Light we get here in the States and hella refreshing. They had this in slender cans which looked pretty cool. Oh yeah, they had an Amstel Malta, as well, (a malt drink made with barley malt caramel, sucrose and hops extract), but I left that alone. Not a big fan of that style of drink across the board no matter where I am.
After switching between the Polar and Amstel lagers the duration of my trip, I did yearned for an ale; a nice, medium-bodied imperial something. When I arrived back in the ATL around midnight after a whirlwind of a weekend, all the spots I usually buy from were closed, but the sole Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster (8.75% abv) I had left in the fridge welcomed me home in freakin' awesome way.
'Nuff respect to Curacao, though. The weather was phenomenal, the concerts were unforgettable, my Hyatt was plush, the people were pleasant and the beer was, well, cold. I'll be back!
Captain Goodlife was off the chain!
Oh yeah, shout out to my man Captain Goodlife, too! He was a wild, eccentric diving tour guide who runs a  great business, takes visitors to some the most amazing secluded beaches and had me swim in 30-feet deep water with no life vest into a cave (check out the 3:44 mark here to see what I am talking about). That was pretty crazy since I am more of a lap pool kind of swimmer, but I completed the mission and was rewarded with a delectable broiled seafood platter, potatoes and a fresh salad all prepared from scratch by his lovely wife. Ahhhh, the "good life." I get it.
One more thing: Extra special shout outs go to my homegirl Alicia for being the perfect host and big time CNN entertainment reporter Jawn Murray for making the trip that much more memorable!
See ya where an awesome beer is poured. Preferably an ale.
Ale

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