In recent years, microbrews and craft beers have been taking America by storm. The makers of these small-batch brews are generally recognized for their emphasis on quality, flavor and traditional brewing technique. While St. Croix may be an island, you can still find some refreshing, locally made ales and craft brews right here on island.
So, what exactly makes a craft brew (or microbrew) special? Turns out, there is an ‘official’ Brewer’s Association that has defined what it means to be a craft brewer. Essentially, it is a small, independently owned and operated brewery that uses traditional brewing methods – so I think it’s safe to consider our local beers to come from craft brewers. If you are looking for a reason to choose a craft beer over a mass produced one, just consider the challenges craft brewers face, especially those trying to brew beer here on St. Croix. Access to and the cost of raw materials and ingredients, access to and cost of fresh water, operational costs, and finding a market for the finished product are some of the bigger hurdles our local brewers have to overcome. Keep in mind that when you order locally crafted beer you are not only supporting the culture of craft brewing in the United States, but you are also supporting our local island community.
Leatherback Brewing Company
Leatherback Brewing Company is a brewery and tasting room located in the William Roebuck Industrial Park on the south side of the mid island area. Leatherback proudly produces and distributes authentic Virgin Islands craft beer with uniquely Caribbean grown ingredients alongside traditional beer styles. Several beers are always being brewed, with some featuring locally sourced ingredients. Their beer is canned and kegged on site, and many restaurants and bars all across the island offer Leatherback beers. Visitors can tour the facility and learn about the brewing process, and you can visit the tasting room which features an indoor and outdoor bar with a family friendly atmosphere. My personal recommendation? Try the Bush Life Saison, a unique medium-bodied French-style ale inspired by local ‘bush tea’ and brewed with ingredients harvested in the Caribbean including local basil, lemongrass, ginger and sorrel.
The Bombay Club
In the heart of downtown Christiansted The Bombay Club has been a favorite haunt of residents and visitors alike for over 30 years. Known for offering consistently great food at reasonable prices, Bombay has also embraced the concept of serving locally crafted small-batch beer. A seemingly fitting place to find craft brews, this quaint and unassuming restaurant and bar are housed in a historical Danish brick building tucked back in a small courtyard off of King Street. If you have never been, you really have to watch for the small wooden sign hanging street side which reads simply ‘The Bombay Club’, under which you will usually find a specials board. When you enter the courtyard, a green awning marks the cavernous arched stone entryway into the restaurant. Once inside, the air conditioned comfort and casual vibe invite you to sit at the bar and grab a cold one. The Bombay Club currently offers two different locally crafted beers on draft. Bombay Pale Ale is the house draft and is therefore (almost) always available on tap. The second type of beer on tap rotates depending on what the brewer has made, which was a stout the last time I was there.
BREW STX is a microbrewery and restaurant located right on the boardwalk in Christiansted. BREW offers a rotating selection of microbrews, as well as great food, and a fun atmosphere. Enjoy special events like live music, crab races, seafood boils, and more along with your craft beer. What’s not to love about sipping a cold microbrew while you enjoy a view of the Caribbean sea and Christiansted Harbor?
Whatever you choose for your craft brew, raise your glass, take a sip, and savor the creativity and passion shown by our local brewers. Enjoy the complexity of the flavors and ingredients in your beer as you celebrate the fact that you are partaking of this delicious fermented beverage on a beautiful island in the Caribbean. Cheers!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor
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