Caribbean women don’t drink stout in public because the black stuff boosts male potency. We all know stout is liquid love, but come on, bone in a bottle? I’ve drank the stuff for years and never once had a rocket in my pocket unless it belonged to someone else.
Yet no other female hands were holding any of the four stouts that are available on the small island nation of St. Lucia, although I would bet that many sneak sips on the sly after tiring of rum punch. An ethnic mutt from Miami, on the other hand, has more leeway. Oh, the eyebrows rise faster than the schlongs do and the catcalls cry, "Hey you want some more black juice?" Why yes, I do! No wait--I meant the beer! It’s ok. No matter what my background or my biology, I stuck with one black juice on St. Lucia: Banks Milk Stout. It’s uplifting, just like they say, as well as creamy and smooth. Like most foreign stouts, Banks’ version is mildly fruity and subtly roasty: a clean and satisfying sample of the style. The other foreign stouts available on St. Lucia--Mackeson XXX, Royal Extra, and Guinness--pale in comparison. Unfortunately, they are easier to find than the Banks Milk Stout, which was spotted in only one bar in the town of Gros Islet.
The ubiquitous Piton lager dubbed "Mystic Mountain Brew" is another story altogether. The Pitons ("peaks") are the national symbol of St. Lucia. Although the island is dotted with lesser pitons, the capitalized twin Pitons that rise dramatically out of the Caribbean Sea are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The brewery is named after them. Piton’s flagship beer is clean and dry, and refreshing when served chilled. Women drink Piton as they please. Heineken runs the Piton brewery and is widely distributed, so Lucians of both genders drink it for status or a change of pace. No one drinks the Piton brand shandies, and understandably so! They are for children, tasting as they do like un-electric Kool Aid. However, they come in entertaining flavors like sorrel and flashy colors like neon pink.
European expats helped open a new brewpub in Rodney Bay, and the only one on the island: Plantation House Brewing. It’s situated in a capacious colonial mansion with a wrap-around patio large enough to fit a pool table and the regular tables and chairs. Unfortunately, the house beers do disservice to the impressive building. It’s no wonder patrons drank Piton or wine when we were there, and it’s no wonder the bartender smiled coyly when I asked about his favorite house beers: branded as J’Ouvret. We didn’t go back, even if they did have an impressive selection of imports including Celebrator and several Samuel Smiths. The house concoctions tasted like under-fermented malt extract and they torture you with four of them: a pils, a dunkel, an amber, and a black porter. Piton surpasses each of the J’Ouvret, and the "Mystic Mountain Brew" can be found cheaper elsewhere. However, the brewpub is a wonderful place to while away the time in Rodney Bay.
Lucian men love their liquid Viagras. A homemade infusion of rum and herbs can be widely found in the island’s bars or at its street parties. Ones that are commercially available on St. Lucia include Bambu with "Uplifting Power," Magnum, and Stud Power Stout enriched with herbs. I didn’t get around to trying the first two, but was able to suck on a Stud for breakfast one morning and it wasn’t bad at all. The herbs enhanced the malt character without overpowering the beer. I also tried, and enjoyed, an alcoholic seamoss preparation called Z-moss "Booster." Z-moss is made by the St. Lucia Distillery company, which makes the island’s native rums. Seamoss is a seaweed with reputed aphrodisiac and medicinal qualities, so Z-moss is yet another bang for da wang. The liqueur is naturally creamy, too, because seamoss is a fatty seaweed. My favorite Lucian rum ended up being the high-end Admiral Rodney’s, a smooth sipping rum available for about $45/bottle at the distillery. Like most other St. Lucian bevvies, it’s unpretentious. St. Lucia is after all a simply scenic island with a strong culture unafraid of its natural allure.