Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Balashi Pilsener Beer - Aruba

Bon Bini (that’s “Welcome” in the Aruban language Papiamento) to Food Plus Beer international addition! I’m blogging here from the island paradise of Aruba! What would a vacation be without beer?

Balashi is Aruba’s only brewery. They only make one type of beer, a pilsener that comes in both regular and light varieties. It’s yellow, light, crisp and refreshing and it tastes nearly identical to Heineken. After all, Aruba was founded by the Dutch. I decided to try a Balashi and a Heineken side by side, and did notice some slight discrepancies. Balashi was more carbonated, a bit crisper, and had a mild skunky taste that you might expect from similar green-bottle lager beers (especially Grolsch). Heineken went down just a little smoother.

Balashi also comes in 11oz cans – don’t ask me why, I haven’t been able to figure it out. But every beer here comes in a different sized container, even those that you’re familiar with in the US. The can also reads “brewed with Aruba’s pristine water…” across the top. You may be screaming “Don’t drink the water!” but don’t worry, Aruba’s water is actually great. It’s great because they don’t have any. All of the (drinking) water on the island comes from a massive desalination plant that purifies it right from the ocean.

The bottom line is that Balashi is good for what it is. It’s one ounce short of regular beer, and wouldn’t make the cut anywhere but here, but it’s exactly what you need to combat the scorching sun. It’s an island beer that’s good enough “as is” without a fruit topping. Just fill a cooler with ice and toss in Balashi until you can barely zipper it shut. Sit back, relax, soak in the sun, the steel drums, and 2 or 3 or 10 Balashis – no shirt, no shoes, and no citrus wedge required.


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