Beer in Guam

My travels in search of the perfect beer have literally taken me to the four corners of the Earth. Well, maybe not literally. Anyway, I found myself in Guam wondering if there was any good craft beer to be found. Guam is pretty remote, but it is part of the U.S. and there are a lot of Californians and Hawaiians who come here. There are also a lot of military people. Scuba diving, fishing and surfing are popular recreational activities, so I thought, maybe. It turns out there are two craft breweries on the island. Ishii Brewing Company who makes and kegs beer to be sold in other bars. Ishii makes two beers – Minagof Pale Ale and Minagof IPA (“Minagof” means happiness in the local Chamorro language). I only had the chance to try the Pale Ale and it was a very respectable, low ABV (4.3%) yet hoppy pale ale. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding Ishii on tap and ultimately found it in only one place on the island, the Chamorro Island BBQ. Not surprisingly, Toshi Ishii, the brewmaster learned his craft at the venerable Stone Brewery in California from 1998-2001. The other brewery on Guam is a brewpub called the Mermaid Tavern and Grill (see the photos). This place was awesome. The food was fantastic. They have live music on certain nights. The servers are very friendly, as is the crowd, which is filled with local regulars. Of course the beer is also outstanding. I had the chance to try the Man’hita IPA, a nicely hopped yet malty IPA (depicted in the top photo), the Dos Amantes Irish Red Ale, the Maga’lahi Oatmeal Stout, and the Dutse Passion Fruit Wheat (depicted in the bottom photo). Each one was a fantastic representative of its style. My favorites were the IPA and the Passion Fruit Wheat. The Passion Fruit Wheat was light and refreshing, and had a hint of fruitiness to it, but was not overly sweet. the IPA was definitely a West Coast style IPA that hits you in the face with a combination of simcoe, amarillo and cascade hops. If you have the chance to get to Guam, try all of the above. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are found anywhere else.

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