“If you were stranded on an island, what five things would you bring to survive?” A sampling of paradisaical beers, of course! (Five different six-packs still counts, right?) Not planning a shipwreck or a plane crash? Read on anyway for a few brews to put some sun in your life…no castaway status required.
Okay, so each bottle doesn’t come with a paper parasol—but this warm India Pale Ale might just beat a round of Sex on the Beach. Characteristically hoppy IPA flavor trysts with titillating aromas of kiwi, mango, and oranges…but there’s no overly syrupy ending (and no sand where sand doesn’t belong). To make Umbrella, Oregon-based Pelican Brewing Company imports Australia-grown Ella hops—average those two latitudes out and you’ve got to be somewhere around the equator.
Big Wave American Blonde Ale
Hawaii’s own Kona Brewing Company makes Big Wave easy to catch. This subtly honeyed, light-bodied golden ale is designed for laid-back sipping after a weekend in the surf (or a Monday in rush hour, for the rest of us). Best of all, it’s readily available on the mainland—no board required.
Originating in Germany, here’s a brew style that may not be typically tropical—but this unique recipe from Boulevard Brewing Company is a feat of fizzy fusion. Hibiscus Gose features the traditional sweet-and-tangy pucker of a sour beer, while steeped hibiscus flowers imbue vibrant citrus flavor and a brilliant raspberry hue.
Xingu Black Beer
Named for an Amazon River tributary, Xingu Black is a drink that runs deep. As most libations do, it honors the good old days: Records dated circa 1557 describe beer made in the rainforest with corn and cassava—accounts that inspired an anthropologist to create this present-day Brazilian export. Xingu’s full-bodied bitterness is balanced with notes of licorice and molasses…powerful, robust, and silky, like a panther prowling a steamy jungle.
Tropic King Imperial Saison
Unlike lost luggage on vacation, here’s a completely wonderful mishap involving bags. In tweaking their flagship Belgian-style ale, brewery Funkwerks accidentally added two extra sacks of Munich malt…the result was Tropic King, an unusually jaunty Saison bursting with passion fruit, peach, and ginger flavor. Ah yes, the unexpected can be sweet!