Vacation in Antigua

Michael and Darinda ready for dinner at Coconut Beach Club.
Michael & Darinda

We recently celebrated our first anniversary with a trip to Antigua. We found a Living Social deal for an all-inclusive resort (Coconut Beach Club) that looked like just what we wanted – relaxed atmosphere with white sandy beaches and clear blue water. So, we bought the deal, booked a flight, and headed off to the Caribbean.

The guests at the Coconut Beach Club were mainly couples, and it seemed like the majority of guests were from the United Kingdom. The resort was clean and had a very friendly staff. Our room was a Junior Suite and included a king-size bed, living room area with two chairs and a love seat, a small kitchen area with microwave and refrigerator, a dining area, bath and shower, and a balcony. The room we were in was located at the end of the second floor. We had a view of the beach and ocean, and could also see the pool and bar area. The Coconut Beach Club is located on Yepton Bay Beach and boat traffic (cruise ships, sailboats, tourist catamarans, cargo ships, etc.) going in/out of St. John’s port passes by – so there was boat activity to watch throughout the day. A good location, and when we weren’t on the beach, we spent time sitting on the balcony watching the actvity.

Back side of the Coconut Beach Club rooms.
Back side of the rooms at Coconut Beach Club
View of the beach and ocean from our balcony.
View of beach and ocean from our balcony.
View of pool and bar area from our balcony.
View of pool and bar area from our balcony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beach at Coconut Beach Club.
Coconut Beach Club

The beach was set up with lounge chairs and thatched shades. Beaches in Antigua are not private, so anything with public access could become crowded. Yepton Bay Beach was fairly secluded – just the hotel guests were using it. A couple of beach vendors were selling excursions, but they weren’t a bother – if you said you weren’t interested they moved on and didn’t ask again. We opted not to do any excursions on this trip, but several other hotel guests did and said they had fun.

The all-inclusive option included breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic). Breakfast and lunch were buffet-style, and really weren’t that great. Dinner was much better, with a menu that changed nightly and included an appetizer, entrée (beef or chicken, seafood, or vegetarian), and dessert.

Yepton Bay Beach at Coconut Beach Club.
Yepton Bay Beach

Deep Bay, an area with beautifully clear, calm water, is within walking distance of the Coconut Beach Club. We walked over one day to check it out, but didn’t spend much time there. The beach was crowded that day because it was a national holiday (Whit Monday). Others staying at our resort said they went on a different day and it was deserted.

Fort Barrington is also within walking distance. We attempted to hike to it, but didn’t quite make it to the fort because we were wearing flip flops, and it turned out to be more of a climb than we were aware… so, if you should take the hike up, wear hiking boots, or at least sneakers, to scale the rocks.

We did take a trip into town one day to do a little sight-seeing and shopping. The resort offered a ride into town each morning for $10 a person (round-trip). In Antigua, English is spoken and US dollars are accepted, so no need to convert currency or worry about translation. We picked up a few souvenirs, found a couple of local beers to try, and people watched. We also visited the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda ($3 per person). It is located in the oldest building in town, and didn’t take long to walk through and learn a bit about the local history.

Overall, it was a very relaxing vacation.

 

Beer Styles – Pale Lagers

Below are descriptions of some pale lagers – American lagers, Munich helles, and Dortmunder exports.

Beer Styles - Pale Lagers | rainerlife.com

American Lagers

Three types of American lagers exist – light, standard, and premium. These beers range from pale straw to deep gold in color, and are clear. They have low to moderate hop bitterness. American lagers have no to low hop aroma (spicy and/or floral), no to low sweet maltiness (grainy and/or corn-like), and no to low fruitiness. The hop flavor can range from none to low, with low sweet maltiness. The grain bill includes pale malts and adjuncts (corn or rice). Premium lagers use fewer adjuncts than light and standard lagers. Traditionally, noble or American hops are used. These beers are fermented using an American lager or pilsner yeast. This style is recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in category 1A (Lite American Lager), 1B (Standard American Lager), and 1C (Premium American Lager).

Beer Judge Certification Program Lite American Lager Brewers Association American Light Lager
Original Gravity (OG) 1.028 – 1.040 1.024 – 1.040
Final Gravity (FG) 0.998 – 1.008 0.992 – 1.008
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 8 – 12 4 – 10
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 2 – 3 1.5 – 4
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 2.8 – 4.2% 3.5 – 4.4%

 

Beer Judge Certification Program Standard American Lager Beer Judge Certification Program Premium American Lager Brewers Association American Lager
Original Gravity (OG) 1.040 – 1.050 1.046 – 1.056 1.040 – 1.048
Final Gravity (FG) 1.004 – 1.010 1.008 – 1.012 1.006 – 1.014
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 8 – 15 15 – 25 5 – 15
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 2 – 4 2 – 6 2 – 6
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 4.2 – 5.3% 4.6 – 6.0% 3.8 – 5.0%

 

 

Recommendations:
American Light Lagers:
Lightswitch Lager (BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse)
Miller Lite (Miller Brewing Company)
Shiner Light (Spoetzl Brewery)

American Standard Lagers:
Landshark Lager (Margaritaville Brewing Company)
Dixie Lager (Dixie Brewing Co. contract brewed by Minhas Craft Brewery)
Corona Extra (Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.)

American Premium Lagers:
Longboard Island Lager (Kona Brewing Company)
Shift (New Belgium Brewing Company)
Omission Lager (Omission Beer)

 

 

Munich Helles

Munich helles originated in Munich, Germany. These beers range from straw to gold in color, and are clear. They have low to moderately low hop bitterness. Munich helles have low to moderately low hop aroma (spicy) and low sweet maltiness. The hop flavor ranges from low to moderately low, with low to moderate sweet maltiness. The grain bill includes pilsner malt. Traditionally, noble hops are used. These beers are fermented using a German lager yeast. This style is recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in category 1D.

Beer Judge Certification Program Brewers Association
Original Gravity (OG) 1.045 – 1.051 1.044 – 1.050
Final Gravity (FG) 1.008 – 1.012 1.008 – 1.012
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 16 – 22 18 – 25
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 3 – 5 4 – 5.5
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 4.7 – 5.4% 4.5 – 5.5%

 

Recommendations:
Weihenstephaner Original (Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan)
Franconia Lager (Franconia Brewing Company)
Bikini Blonde Lager (Maui Brewing Co.)

 

 

Dortmunder Export

Dortmunder exports are German in origin (Dortmund, Germany) and are similar to Munich helles, with hops similar to pilsners. These beers range from straw to deep gold in color, and are clear. They have moderate hop bitterness. Dortmunder exports have low to moderate hop aroma and moderate sweet maltiness. The flavor is low in both hops and malt. The grain bill includes pilsner malt. Traditionally, noble hops are used. These beers are fermented using a German lager yeast. This style is recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in category 1E.

Beer Judge Certification Program Brewers Association
Original Gravity (OG) 1.048 – 1.056 1.048 – 1.056
Final Gravity (FG) 1.010 – 1.015 1.010 – 1.014
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 23 – 30 23 – 29
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 4 – 6 3 – 6
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 4.8 – 6.0% 5.0 – 6.0%

 

Recommendations:
Dortmunder Gold (Great Lakes Brewing Company)
Shiner Dortmunder Style Spring Ale (Spoetzl Brewery)

 

 

Sources:
Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Guidelines
Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines

 

Growing Grapes

Recently planted grapevines.
Recently planted grapevines.

We finally got around to getting our grapevines in the ground a couple of weeks ago. Earlier this year we got three Black Spanish, or Lenoir, grapevines from Enoch’s Stomp, a local winery. They grow this variety of grapes, along with a few others. Apparently, Lenoir grow well in the East Texas climate. I’ve never grown grapes, so this will be a new experience.

To build the area for the grapevines, we used three cedar fence boards we already had, some wire (approximately 24-feet), a few bags of mulch, and two 10-foot cedar border fences I purchased at Lowe’s. First, we (by that I mean Michael) dug holes for the fence boards. Once they were in place, I planted the three grapevines and stapled the wire to the back of the fence boards – hopefully it will stay in place to train the vines. I put mulch around the area to keep it looking nice and placed the border fences around the whole thing. So, not sure how well we will do with growing grapes, but for now it looks nice.

Garden Update

The other garden bed - nothing was replanted.
The other garden bed – nothing was replanted.
Replanted tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries in this garden bed.
Replanted bed (tomatoes, peppers, & strawberries).

The vegetable garden is coming along nicely. We had a couple of late cold snaps this year, so I had to replant a few things – tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries. Now that I’ve got everything in the ground… and the weather has started cooperating… we have a pretty good first year garden growing. So far, we’ve harvested radishes and spinach (forgot to take pictures).

 

 

Beer Styles – Pilsners

Below are descriptions of some pilsner style beers – German pilsners, Bohemian pilsners, and American pilsners.

Beer Styles - Pilsners | rainerlife.com

German Pilsner

German pilsners are similar to Bohemian pilsners, but are drier and crisper in taste. These beers range from pale straw to gold in color, and are clear. They have moderate to high hop bitterness. German pilsners have low to moderate hop aroma (spicy) and low maltiness. The hop flavor can range from low to high, with moderate maltiness (grainy). The grain bill includes pilsner malt. Traditionally, noble hops (e.g., Hallertauer) are used. These beers are fermented using a German lager yeast. This style is recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in category 2A.

Beer Judge Certification Program Brewers Association
Original Gravity (OG) 1.044 – 1.050 1.044 – 1.050
Final Gravity (FG) 1.008 – 1.013 1.006 – 1.012
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 25 – 45 25 – 40
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 2 – 5 3 – 4
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 4.4 – 5.2% 4.0 – 5.0%

 

Recommendations:
Scrimshaw Pilsner (North Coast Brewing Company)
Warsteiner Premium Verum (Warsteiner Brauerei)
Krombacher Pilsner (Krombacher Brauerei Bernhard Schadeberg)

 

 

Bohemian Pilsner

Bohemian pilsners were first brewed in 1842 in, what is now, the Czech Republic. These beers range from straw to light amber in color, and are clear. They have low to moderate hop bitterness. Bohemian pilsners have low to moderate hop aroma (floral, spicy) and a low to moderate sweet maltiness. The hop flavor can range from low to moderate, with low to moderate maltiness (toast or biscuit-like). The grain bill includes Monrovian Pilsner malt. Traditionally, noble hops (e.g., Saaz) are used. These beers are fermented using a Czech lager yeast. This style is recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in category 2B.

Beer Judge Certification Program Brewers Association
Original Gravity (OG) 1.044 – 1.056 1.044 – 1.056
Final Gravity (FG) 1.013 – 1.017 1.014 – 1.020
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 35 – 45 30 – 45
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 3.5 – 6 3 – 7
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 4.2 – 5.4% 4.0 – 5.0%

 

Recommendations:
Nomad (Great Divide Brewing Company)
Mama’s Little Yella Pils (Oskar Blues Brewery)
Summerfest (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.)

 

 

American Pilsner

The American pilsner style was brought to the United States by German immigrants. These beers range from straw to deep gold in color, and are clear. They have moderate to high hop bitterness. American pilsners have moderate hop aroma and a low to moderate maltiness. The hop flavor ranges from moderate to high, with moderate to moderately high maltiness (grainy and corn-like). The grain bill may include six-row pale malt and adjuncts (corn or rice). Traditionally, noble hops are used. These beers are fermented using a pilsner lager yeast. This style is recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in category 2C.

Beer Judge Certification Program Brewers Association
Original Gravity (OG) 1.044 – 1.060 1.045 – 1.060
Final Gravity (FG) 1.010 – 1.015 1.012 – 1.018
International Bitterness Unit (IBU) 25 – 40 25 – 40
Standard Reference Method (SRM) 3 – 6 3 – 6
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) 4.5 – 6.0% 5.0 – 6.0%

 

Recommendations:
Redhook Pilsner (Redhook Ale Brewery)
Saint Arnold Summer Pils (Saint Arnold Brewing Company)

 

 

Sources:
Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Guidelines
Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines