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Red Stripe: Rightfully Beloved In Kingston And Cambridge Alike

Illustration for article titled Red Stripe: Rightfully Beloved In Kingston And Cambridge Alike

If you live in the Northeastern United States, you need to move, because tomorrow's the first day of spring, and it's going to snow. Believe me, I'm just as tired of whining about the weather as you are of listening to me whine about the weather, but it's been so relentlessly abominable that I can't bring myself to focus on much else. (Bear with me, though: Hot beer talk coming in a few hundred words.)


There is simply no excuse for any sane person to live in this sun-forsaken quadrant of the country anymore. They have pizza and the internet everywhere now! Even in the less expensive, more pleasant, college footballier places that we snow-dwellers disdain out of knee-jerk jealousy and pettiness! Sure, some of the social values are different down there, but how much do any of us really care? Besides, maybe they're right? Has my brain been so thoroughly sleet-battered that I now kind of believe that the catastrophic winter was god's punishment for gay marriage, gun control, and minority enfranchisement? Maybe.

But then, perhaps it's time to just flee the country altogether. There's no need to get all NASCAR about it if you broaden your scope and realize they have most of the basic necessities covered in a lot of your warmer countries these days. Beer, even! Take a look at this map from VinePair. It shows you the best-selling beer in most countries around the world. They sent it to us a couple weeks ago, and I thought, "Oh, interesting, maybe I should write about this" and then I got drunk and screamed at the snow for 10 days straight while Sploid, the Daily Mail, and The Economist made what should have been Drunkspin's hay. Dammit. Anyhow, here we are, late to the party with this cool map.

A few surprises here: There are a lot of Brazilian immigrants in my neighborhood, yet I've never seen a can of Skol (it's mostly Brahma around here, as in Paraguay). And I knew Bud Light was the most popular beer in America, because I see this sort of list all the time, but it's still worth noting that a country notorious for our fat-assedness chooses to cut our calories in such a disgraceful manner. Canada is pathetic for choosing Budweiser over Molson or Labatt's, but at least they have the dignity to swallow the extra 30 calories for the full-strength version.

Mexicans aren't doing themselves any favors with Corona, not when there's Negra Modelo and Bohemia and Dos Equis Ambar around, but at least it's local. Why the hell are the British so into Carling? I'd like to try China's Snow beer and Iceland's Viking, but those aren't warm islands, so never mind. Back to the point here: Let's move to Jamaica and drink Red Stripe.

I had assumed Red Stripe was more of an exported marketing phenomenon than a home-grown beer of choice; I would have bet that Jamaicans had some other cheap right-hand beer for everyday living and then maybe hit the Dragon Stout on holidays or after sundown. But I guess Red Stripe isn't just for Harvard students, who drink more of the stuff than you'd expect. This makes a bit of sense, because Cambridge has a fairly lively Caribbean population, so Red Stripe shows up for perfectly good reason in a lot of local beer coolers. And Harvard students suck at everything except for the things they're good at, such as cultural appropriation and getting loaded without consequence.

It turns out that Red Stripe is perfectly good adjunct lager. It comes in a brown bottle, which protects it from the light-shock that wrecks so many imported beers. But please know that the glass color is the only cool thing about the bottle. Don't get taken in by the stubby grenade shape, which is just a dirty trick to distract you from the 11.2-ounce volume.


But that significant qualm aside, 4.7-percent alcohol-by-volume Red Stripe'll do you just fine. It smells like sweet corn and stale, dusty bubblegum, and it has a somewhat Schlitzian late metallic bite that almost suggests a brief run-in with a hop flower somewhere along the brewing process, a rare treat for this breed of beer. Overall, it's sweet and a bit fruity, and not bad at all for the price (a tiny bit more than Budweiser).

I know it's going to take my fellow Northeasterners a few days to get everything packed up for our mass migration south, so in the meantime I recommend you daydream with Red Stripe, because if you can't be warm just yet, you can at least drink like a Jamaican or a dipshit Ivy League brat.


This is Drunkspin Daily, the Concourse's adequate source for booze news, reviews, and bullshit. We'll be highlighting a beer a day in this space; please leave suggestions below.


Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and some of his closest friends have met Certified Cicerones. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain. Image by Jim Cooke.

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