Friday Happy Hour: Kubuli Beer, the Pride of Dominica
Grand Cayman, Canouan, Grenada, St. John, Barbados, Petite Tabac, St. Lucia, Carriacou, St. Thomas – Patrick and I certainly haven’t lacked for trips to the Caribbean so far in 2011. We’ve had fun and managed to find our special brand of uncommon adventures in each spot (yes, I know I still owe a report or two on St. Thomas), but needless to say, our Caribbean wanderlust is in no way satisfied for the year.
There’s no telling where we’ll end up next, but whenever we get to talking about future trips, one destination invariably stands out above the rest: Dominica.
We’ve been pining for a visit to this supremely natural paradise for the better part of the past year (here’s the evidence), but so far the only taste that either of us have gotten of the island can be traced to the bottle accompanying this post.
The award, a gold medal won at the Monde Selctione Quality Awards, is a nice feather in Kubuli’s cap, but this beer is defined in many other ways that are uniquely Dominican, and therefore, better (at least to us).
Just look at the name, Kubuli. It’s short for Waitukubuli, the Carib Indian name for the island. (Yes, you’ve heard this name before…) Translated it means “tall is her body,” a nod to the protracted North-South length of the island compared to its width. With such a name, it seems a little strange that the bottle should be so short, but either way…
Now look at the ingredients listed on the label: malted barley, hops, water. Simple and pure like Dominica herself.
A closer look, though, reveals even more of the essence of Dominica contained in each bottle of Kubuli. The beer is brewed with 100% natural spring water, channeled directly from the Loubiere Spring, which is located near the Kubuli bottling plant. From what I’m told, the water is a world apart from the processed H2O that’s passed through miles and miles of steadily corroding underground pipes that we “enjoy” here in the States. This is pure spring water, naturally filtered over miles of volcanic rock, with a few choice minerals added along the way, no Brita needed, thank you very much.
Kubuli may bear the essence of a light German lager, but it’s 100% Dominican through and through.
Kubuli’s pure Dominica-ness also means that Dominica remains one of the few places on the planet where you can find and enjoy it. So, how is it that I got a taste of Kubuli recently without setting foot on the island?
Well, we like to make friends here at Uncommon Caribbean, and thankfully one of our new friends just happens to be a nice guy from Dominica that runs a food service business with his wife here in South Florida. I’m talking about Evans Bruno from Virgin Islands Delite, who you may remember from this warm, kind-hearted Easter-themed recipe post from a few weeks ago.
Now, although South Florida is a primary gateway to the Caribbean, and you can get many of the same goods here that you can get down in the islands, you can’t always get anything you want all the time. For people like Evans and his wife who rely on certain endemic Caribbean vegetables and spices for many of their dishes that you just can’t get at the local Publix, this presents a problem.
Luckily for them (and anyone who eats their food), they have friends who are nice enough to bring up the unique island treasures needed to create their special dishes when traveling to the States.
Luckily for me, one of those treasures is often a few bottles of Kubuli.
I got to enjoy a bottle with Evans a few weeks ago while devouring a perfectly spiced plate of stew chicken and rice with a few Johnny Cakes on the side.
My take: Kubuli is a light, pale lager that (like most Caribbean beers) is very refreshing and perfectly-suited for the region’s warm weather. Some say it’s a tad stronger than other regional beers, but I don’t know about that after just one bottle. I certainly think it’s a quality lager that offers a bit of a more distinctive flavor than some of the other Caribbean beers I’ve sampled over the years.
My small taste of Kubuli definitely begs for more research, only increasing my thirst to visit Dominica. I’m sure we’ll get there eventually, but for now I’ll have to hope that Evans gets in another special delivery soon…