Beer Etiquette in the Dominican Republic
I was fifteen years old when I enjoyed my first beer and it was the Dominican beer, Presidente. A refreshingly cold relief to the humid heat of the tropical island, this beer is due credit for giving me a great first impression of beer. Since then, I have come to develop quite the varied taste and palate for beer, being very open to different kinds. But as much as I love Colorado-brewed and strong Belgium beers, I will always have an affection and special appreciation for Presidente. Here is how to ensure that you get to enjoy the experience that it is.
When in the Dominican, you will hear beer referred to as the Spanish word cerveza, yes, but more importantly, as una fria. During this current visit, I have heard more and more often that the phrase has evolved into bien fria, which literally means good and cold. In the mind of the local Dominican, it is a crime and practically a sin, if beer is served any less than almost frozen cold. When the bottle arrives at your table, the exposure to the air that it first receives when opened, should cause the top portion of the liquid inside to begin to freeze into tiny ice chunks. The container should always be glass and the condensation on it icy-white and frosty enough to write on, just before it begins to drip into little droplets down the curve of the bottle…enticing, huh!
To go even more into protocol, a paper napkin should be wrapped around the bottom part of the bottle and a second napkin around the mouth piece at the top. The latter varies depending on where you are on the island. Sometimes it’s done at only nicer places, while at the same time I have experienced it at the most randomly rustic places. It also can depend on the size of the bottle, being done typically on the personal sized bottles and not as often on the larger liter sized bottles that are great for enjoying with friends. That’s the other important aspect to remember…enjoying cerveza in this country is very much a social activity where everyone shares. Sometimes you get your own individual bottle, but many times when in groups, you order the larger ones to share. Oh, and they deliver in not only the cities, but even out in the country towns too. You can order your Presidente beer and even then, they guarantee it bien fria or you can return it and they have to bring you a new one super cold!