No matter the beer in hand, it probably will taste pretty good if on a snorkel or other adventure while vacationing in the Caribbean.
But, beyond the scenic views, the beer experience itself can be hit-or-miss depending on where you are.
I haven’t been to all — or even a majority — of the islands but there have been big differences between the ones I have visited.
Take Aruba, “the Happy Island,” which offers spectacular ocean vistas, exciting flavors and excursions in a consistently dry, sunny, eighty-five-degree climate.
The beer scene, on the other hand, isn’t going to do much for the connoisseur. Compared to the States, this lovely island only is a stone’s throw better than Saudi Arabia (a place where that activity takes on a whole new meaning).
In Aruba, the beer of choice is Balashi. It has an interesting story being the only commercial beer produced from desalinized salt water. And, considering such fermented origins, this lager is drinkable enough—better than Corona but not as tight as Presidente. The water is pretty good too. Beers like Heineken, Bud, and Guiness are available, but Balashi is your best bet at most venues (unless you find Bavaria Food and Beer).
For a bit of a contrast in the island and beer landscape, try “the Friendly Island” of St. Martin — another beautiful spot administered at least partially by the Dutch. The beer hunter will be surprised by the choices more readily available in stores.
If you find the right grocery store, you will discover some of the world’s finest ales — even Trappists at that. But, if beer really is your thing, most of your options at bars and restaurants will come down to a couple of decent lagers such as Carib or Presidente.
If something dark strikes your fancy in the eighty-degree heat, both islands offer the excellent Guiness Foreign Export, but in St. Martin, you are in luck if you find a Mackeson Stout — a fantastic roasty, malty departure from light lager-dom.
In the end, chances are you aren’t traveling to an island for their beer, (but if you’re reading this, maybe you are).
Whatever the island destination, there will be plenty of quaffable beer for anyone that can appreciate a refreshing, no-frills lager under the Caribbean sun with salt water in the air.
For the hopheads out there, well ... it might be a good opportunity to sample some rum.

This week’s recommendation: Mackeson Triple XXX Stout, a Sweet Milk Stout with notes of creamy caramel, roasted coffee and malty chocolate. 4.9% ABV. Whitbread PLC, London, England.
— Colin Hubbell is co-owner of the Green Onion Pub and the Hop and Goblet in South Utica, New York.