Belize has a lot of coastline, and a lot of beaches–and we learned on our visit that it also has a lot of beer. But Belize is decidedly not the land of craft IPAs, as almost all of the beer here is much lighter (except one newcomer called Hobbs Wildcat IPA). For the most part, tap handles in local bars tell a singular story–about Belikin, the national beer (think Budweiser, but with an accent).
Belikin offers several different brews, and all are light and relatively low-alcohol—perfect for enjoying on the beach and/or in the heat.
Belikin is a Mayan word that means “Land Facing the Sea,” and some say that it’s the origin of the name Belize–although we also heard that Belize means “muddy waters” in the Maya language. That story seems more plausible than a country named after a beer (although Souzz’s favorite beer, Oberon, would be a great name for a country, just sayin’).
Beer in Belize is served with a napkin artfully wrapped around the neck of the bottle–like a liquid version of Woody from Toy Story. The napkin seems like a nice little piece of flair, but it’s there so that you have something to wipe the rust away from the mouth of the bottle.
As for rust, the majority of glass bottles in Belize are washed and re-used, so drinking beer here means you are basically sharing a bottle–and hopefully it wasn’t with that guy at the next table last night that was eating ceviche like it was a bowl of soup…which made me want to have three more Belikins.
In stores, beer is sold as singles and each beer generally runs about two dollars (US), although bars sell “six packs” in buckets on ice (for about $15 dollars US, hard to pass up). And when a server brings you a bucket of beer, it feels like there’s some purpose to the activity of beer drinking. With that in mind, we’ve accomplished a lot on our trip.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that Belikin is served in bottles that are smaller than those in the US, a little more than nine ounces. We didn’t notice at first because the weight of the glass gives you the sense that you’re holding a “regular” bottle of beer…but the end of the beer comes more quickly (and isn’t that always the way?).
As for the bottle size, there’s apparently a running joke here: “Belikin – more bottle, less beer.” That seems about right…or, as they say in Belize, “Yaaa, man!”