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Sampling Beer on Guanaja

In Honduras, often the best choice for happy hour is rum or beer. That doesn’t pose a problem for me, since I like both perfectly well. But cerveza drinkers on Guanaja have a few options, so let’s review them:

Salva Vida. Perhaps one of the best-named beers, salva vida means “lifesaver” in Spanish, and if you don’t remember that, you’ll be reminded by the lifesaver image on the brown bottle’s label. It’s a perfectly fine lager, perhaps nothing to write home about, but it’s one of my two favorite beers I find on the island.

Imperial. Another lager, this beer with the eagle label is more available on the mainland (especially in Tegucigalpa) than on Guanaja. But when I find it on the island, I’ll often have one.

Port Royal. For fans of pilsner beers, this is your go-to on Guanaja. It’s named after a town on Roatán that was once the site of Engligh pirate camps. Port Royal and Salva Vida are the most popular cervezas to choose here.

Barena. Akin to Corona, it’s in a clear bottle with a palm tree label and has a light flavor. On the hottest days, this is my first choice.

When a beer is served in the bottle in bars and restaurants, it will have a small napkin wrapped around the neck. If you’re in the islands, use the napkin to wipe off the mouth of the bottle before you take your first drink. Since most bottled beverages come over from the mainland on boats, there will often be a rusty residue on the mouth of the bottle from the bottle cap.

At our friends’ house on Guanaja, there are a few koozies to keep the beers cold. My favorite one, and the one I grab every time, has this printed on its side: “I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted the paychecks.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.