Home > The Beer Jaunt > Thanks to Timperial Stout – No Thanks to Cruise Lines

Thanks to Timperial Stout – No Thanks to Cruise Lines

Your best option at sea? We can do better.

2/3 of the team was away last week on a much needed vacation. We are now back in the saddle and ready to alleviate an immense pressure on Mr. Timperial.

We want to take a short moment to thank him for holding down the fort and offering some great content on bottle shops in the Seattle area. We got some good comments and emails on the topic and we greatly appreciate the dialogue.

Over the past week, I had to sit victim to an array of 15 identical beers on a cruise ship through the Caribbean. While this type of travel is not personal fave for me, it was a nice relaxing excursion away from the rigors of work. This is especially true for Jessica, the pregnant one of the bunch.

The reason I mention 15 identical beers is because its a rant-worthy topic. A few years back, I took a cruise through the Greek Islands and was met with 2 beer options – Nastro Azzuro (Peroni to most of you) and Franziskaner. Not good. But I read up about Royal Caribbean and found out that they offer as many as 15 beers! Hooray. Must be a few ales in there, eh? Not.

15 types of beer meant 14 lagers and 1 ale that might as well be an amber lager (Bass). 14 lagers includes all major US crap, Heineken, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Stella Artois, and a number of other disappointing beers that make me remember my life before good beer. The only savior was an Irish pub on board that poured Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Irish Red and Murphy’s Irish Stout. Unfortunately, the stout was out for most of the trip and lets be honest – I don’t like the other two very much. Little to no hops and no real flavor. Boring.

Where is the micro? I mean really, not even a Sam Adams? Not that I would be excited about a Sam Adams, but it would be better than what they have. The Irish pub provided about 20 choices – none of them an American Ale.

It seems that one of the larger craft brewers is sitting on a gold mine here. Cruises and airlines have got to begin offering some sort of tasteful beer option. While Alaskan Airlines offers Alaskan Amber – its the lone gun on the market (I believe). A brewery like Alaskan, Boston Beer, Pyramid, or Red Hook has got to make an overture. While I would love to see New Belgium or Dogfish get that contract, its probably too pricey for companies that charge a premium for cheap filth, anyways.

What do you think? Better beer on your next flight or cruise?

  1. Patrick
    February 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    That’s a rant I’ve had too. It really amazes me that cruise lines don’t have decent beer. A cruise company is fundamentally a customer service organization that goes to extreme lengths to please its customers in any way possible. They have fine steakhouses on board with quality wines, and they hire good chefs to cook up fancy meals. And then they stock their bar with 10 generic macro beers and 1 commonplace micro? Doesn’t make any sense.

    I did an Alaskan cruise on Princess a couple years ago, and they had Alaskan Amber and Alaskan Summer (since it was an Alaskan cruise), but the rest was macrobrewery AB swill plus AB imports like Stella. I sent feedback to the cruise line after the trip, but I doubt they did anything with it. As soon as we stopped in Victoria at the end of the week I did a pub crawl hitting up 3 or 4 of the brewpubs there. There was also some respite in Juneau (Alaskan Brewery) and Skagway, but the ship-board options were boring. Alaskan amber is decent but you really crave some more variety after a week of drinking that. I expect a Caribbean cruise like your’s would be even worse because there are no microbreweries or brewpubs at the ports of call in the Caribbean.

  1. February 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

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