Dominican Republic Beer Comparison

 

 

The world of Dominican Beer is far from exciting. If the New World had only been discovered by Belgians things could have been so different. Still, meager as the offerings are, it seems a shame to leave the Dominican Republic without giving them a brief nod. Latin culture is formal like that, and so I should at least say something.

I somehow managed to lose half my photos of Dominican Republic beer bottles.  I’m not sure how that happened.  Anyway, sadly there is no picture of the rather cool Bohemia bottle.

Presidente

Presidente is the ubiquitous brand and hard to avoid. The company has infiltrated virtually every shop in the country with its giant green beer fridges. Restaurant menus often list the full range of Dominican beers, but more often than not the menu is merely preserving a pleasing illusion of choice.  Presidente is the only beer they really stock. There is no escaping the stuff.

The beer itself is a very nondescript international pilsner. Bitterness and maltiness are minimal but not quite absent to the point of being offensive. The only remarkable characteristic is that it is on the gassy side – something I dislike. Despite not drinking much of it I came across a couple of skunky bottles so I wonder if they do not have some consistency issues.

The Presidente fridges really get cranked up to full throttle so the beer is invariably extremely cold. Thick white frost on the bottle is pretty standard, and more than once the beer was so cold it temporarily formed a slushy in my glass. There is also a Presidente light, which I believe has a larger proportion of maize in the mash and hence even less taste.

Bohemia

This was my favorite Dominican beer and not too hard to find. Happily it also seems to be the cheapest local brand, always priced below Presidente in restaurants. Supposedly it is made at one of Presidete’s old facilities, and may even be a Presidente product. Expats living in the Dominican Republic say this is how Presidente used to taste. Allegedly Bohemia is not pasteurized while Presidente is, the reason being that the old production facility lacks pasteurization capabilities. This tale sounds like a beer drinkers’ rumor to me but for all I know it could be true.

While Bohemia is just another international style pilsner it is a little hoppier than Presidente. I found it better balanced, ‘fresher’, and more consistent. I like the label too.

Ambar

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A non-descript amber beer, vaguely in the Vienna Lager tradition. While it is not often seen, the few places that stock it serve it with a flourish that marks it apart as somethign special.

The beer itself is slightly sweet with minimal bitterness. Sadly there is not much maltiness or body. With a little more body this could have potential. I believe it is a Presidente product.

Brahma

Brazilian beer in the Corona style that advertises pretty heavily and has quite good distribution. I think it is locally manufactured.

This one has that dull sweetness you get from lots of corn in the mash, along with minimal maltiness and hops. Not my type of thing.

Quilmes

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This seems to be the most obscure local beer. It rarely appears on menus and when it does it is never in stock. The rule that obscure products are worth seeking out does not apply here.

The uninspired label may be the best part of the experience.  The taste is like a mix of bad homebrew and one of those cheap super-strength lagers. A strong alcohol taste makes the 5% on the label a little hard to believe. For a millisecond you are reminded of some rich Belgian beer, but then you realize this stuff is just rank. There is no hop taste at all, but plenty of sugariness and yeastiness, plus some sourness. Possibly the bottle I tried was off, but I think this beer is unpopular for a reason.

2 Responses to “Dominican Republic Beer Comparison”

  1. seriousdarious Says:

    From my understanding, Bohemia is Mexican and Quilmes is Argentinian. Were the ones you drank local products with the same name? Or perhaps the same beer but produced in the DR (as opposed to being imported)? If they are indeed imports that may explain the obscurity of the Quilmes. I, too, like the Bohemia. I first had it when I was in Mexico a few years ago and if I see it on a menu around here (we’re fortunate to have many good Mexican restaurants in the Detroit area) I’ll usually order it.

  2. seamus Says:

    Interesting info Seriousdarious.

    I got my info on these beers from DR expats and a DR expat website, so I have no idea how authentic it is. The DR expats consider these ‘local’ beers, but they could easily be wrong.

    I am certain Bohemia is produced locally and pretty sure on the Quilmes. But they could well be produced under license. In any case, the Quilmes was horrible stuff. I sort of hope the Quilmes was imported and had somehow suffered in transit.

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