Roatan Insider Tips: Local Beer

Date Posted: January 20, 2015
Posted in: All About Roatan

For any beer drinker, it’s always a fun experience to try local beers wherever you travel. A Guinness in Ireland is a must, a Sam Adams in Boston is necessary. Local microbrews continue to pop up everywhere – much to my personal delight. Trying new beers and finding local gems offers a new experience for anyone interested in other cultures. While there are a few microbreweries on the mainland now, unfortunately they have yet to migrate this way.

So what beers are available in Roatan? I actually get this question all the time from visitors, so maybe this will help in your planning if you’re coming to hang out with us soon.

There are four Honduran beers all brewed by Cerveceria Hondurena on the mainland. And for those of us who live here and need more variety than those four can provide there are also a number of imported beers, some of which may surprise you. Here’s your quick rundown on all things beer in Roatan.

National Beers of Honduras Available in Roatan

First, the national beers. All are between 4.5-5% alcohol content and between about 135-150 calories each. You can’t get any on draught – they’re only in bottles or cans. Cans are cheaper, bottles are basically always served at bars and restaurants. Pro tip: wipe the top of the bottle before you drink it (you’ll notice most places wrap a napkin around it). The bottles are recycled so it’s always best to give them one last cleaning, and sometimes you get a metallic taste from the cap as well.

Barena: Corona-wannabe and a light beach drink that you could drink all day. It’s most typically enjoyed by tourists, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to blend in more. I’m fairly positive I had one my first week here, but that’s it. Put a lime in it, recline in the sand, and enjoy!

Barena, the Corona-like Honduran beer available in Roatan.

Barena, the Corona-like Honduran beer available in Roatan.

Imperial: The sometimes ugly step-sister of the local beers, Imperial is often overlooked but shouldn’t be. It’s a crisp lager and you can enjoy several in a night. Bonus – it also makes an excellent beermosa (beer and orange juice). It’s a solid choice.

Imperial beer available in Roatan - great for Beermosas!

Imperial beer available in Roatan – great for Beermosas!

Salva Vida: The “Life Saver,” the national beer, and by far the most popular with locals. It’s usually the cheapest option and – as a light, easy beer – you will need it to be cheap for the quantity you will drink. You’ll find it everywhere and see it advertised most often.

The Life Saver. The most popular. Salva Vida Roatan!

The Life Saver. The most popular. Salva Vida Roatan!

Port Royal: My personal favorite, offering the most crisp and flavorful libation of the bunch. It comes in a green bottle, but it’s no Heineken (thankfully). Although it’s still a light pilsner, it has substance to it. It also has my favorite label, offering a shout-out to the old harbor of Port Royal right here in Roatan. Be sure to check out what it says along the top of the label!

Port Royal, named for Roatan's very own historic harbor. My favorite local beer in Roatan.

Port Royal, named for Roatan’s very own historic harbor. My favorite local beer in Roatan.

Imported Beers Available in Roatan

On top of the local beers, there are plenty of imported options that you can certainly pay more for but are also worth it if you live here full-time. Otherwise the regular options get a bit old after a while. Imports usually include Tucher (a German ale with several varieties, a few restaurants keep them in stock fairly regularly), Guinness, Miller Lite and MGD, Budwieser, Stroh’s, Heineken, Coors Lite, Sapporo, Presidente, Red Stripe and Corona. Sometimes a new one pops up, but these are the ones you can usually count on between the grocery stores and restaurants.

A sample of the imported beers available at Eldons grocery store in Roatan.

A sample of the imported beers available at Eldons grocery store in Roatan.

Here’s a warning though: there is only one place on the entire island that has beer on tap. ONE place. It’s Herby’s Sports Bar & Grill in French Harbour, and totally worth a visit if you live here and crave a draught beer every once in a while. Especially since they usually have Sam Adams and Guinness on tap, plus Coors Lite and a rotating option (last time I went it was Angry Orchard cider, which I’m sure my sister would have been thrilled about). There are several restaurants that reliably have imported beers available, but most of the bars are hit-or-miss. You can always buy imported beers at the grocery stores or gas stations though, as long as it’s not after 5pm on a Sunday (ever since they enacted a dry law on Sunday nights for some bizarre reason…it’s the worst when you forget and go out of your way to pick up something to drink only to be turned away at the last second!).

Dry Law on Sundays means sometimes you go to the grocery store and the entire booze aisle is blocked off with  streamers. Thanks for capturing this classic moment, Sarah!

Dry Law on Sundays means sometimes you go to the grocery store and the entire booze aisle is blocked off with streamers. Thanks for capturing this classic moment, Sarah and Sophia!

So there you have it, all things beer in Roatan. Now that you know what is and isn’t available, someone start importing more beer!!

For any beer drinker, it’s always a fun experience to try local beers wherever you travel. A Guinness in Ireland is a must, a Sam Adams in Boston is necessary. Local microbrews continue to pop up everywhere – much to my personal delight. Trying new beers and finding local gems offers a new experience for anyone interested in other cultures. While there are a few microbreweries on the mainland now, unfortunately they have yet to migrate this way.

So what beers are available in Roatan? I actually get this question all the time from visitors, so maybe this will help in your planning if you’re coming to hang out with us soon.

There are four Honduran beers all brewed by Cerveceria Hondurena on the mainland. And for those of us who live here and need more variety than those four can provide there are also a number of imported beers, some of which may surprise you. Here’s your quick rundown on all things beer in Roatan.

National Beers of Honduras Available in Roatan

First, the national beers. All are between 4.5-5% alcohol content and between about 135-150 calories each. You can’t get any on draught – they’re only in bottles or cans. Cans are cheaper, bottles are basically always served at bars and restaurants. Pro tip: wipe the top of the bottle before you drink it (you’ll notice most places wrap a napkin around it). The bottles are recycled so it’s always best to give them one last cleaning, and sometimes you get a metallic taste from the cap as well.

Barena: Corona-wannabe and a light beach drink that you could drink all day. It’s most typically enjoyed by tourists, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to blend in more. I’m fairly positive I had one my first week here, but that’s it. Put a lime in it, recline in the sand, and enjoy!

Barena, the Corona-like Honduran beer available in Roatan.

Barena, the Corona-like Honduran beer available in Roatan.

Imperial: The sometimes ugly step-sister of the local beers, Imperial is often overlooked but shouldn’t be. It’s a crisp lager and you can enjoy several in a night. Bonus – it also makes an excellent beermosa (beer and orange juice). It’s a solid choice.

Imperial beer available in Roatan - great for Beermosas!

Imperial beer available in Roatan – great for Beermosas!

Salva Vida: The “Life Saver,” the national beer, and by far the most popular with locals. It’s usually the cheapest option and – as a light, easy beer – you will need it to be cheap for the quantity you will drink. You’ll find it everywhere and see it advertised most often.

The Life Saver. The most popular. Salva Vida Roatan!

The Life Saver. The most popular. Salva Vida Roatan!

Port Royal: My personal favorite, offering the most crisp and flavorful libation of the bunch. It comes in a green bottle, but it’s no Heineken (thankfully). Although it’s still a light pilsner, it has substance to it. It also has my favorite label, offering a shout-out to the old harbor of Port Royal right here in Roatan. Be sure to check out what it says along the top of the label!

Port Royal, named for Roatan's very own historic harbor. My favorite local beer in Roatan.

Port Royal, named for Roatan’s very own historic harbor. My favorite local beer in Roatan.

Imported Beers Available in Roatan

On top of the local beers, there are plenty of imported options that you can certainly pay more for but are also worth it if you live here full-time. Otherwise the regular options get a bit old after a while. Imports usually include Tucher (a German ale with several varieties, a few restaurants keep them in stock fairly regularly), Guinness, Miller Lite and MGD, Budwieser, Stroh’s, Heineken, Coors Lite, Sapporo, Presidente, Red Stripe and Corona. Sometimes a new one pops up, but these are the ones you can usually count on between the grocery stores and restaurants.

A sample of the imported beers available at Eldons grocery store in Roatan.

A sample of the imported beers available at Eldons grocery store in Roatan.

Here’s a warning though: there is only one place on the entire island that has beer on tap. ONE place. It’s Herby’s Sports Bar & Grill in French Harbour, and totally worth a visit if you live here and crave a draught beer every once in a while. Especially since they usually have Sam Adams and Guinness on tap, plus Coors Lite and a rotating option (last time I went it was Angry Orchard cider, which I’m sure my sister would have been thrilled about). There are several restaurants that reliably have imported beers available, but most of the bars are hit-or-miss. You can always buy imported beers at the grocery stores or gas stations though, as long as it’s not after 5pm on a Sunday (ever since they enacted a dry law on Sunday nights for some bizarre reason…it’s the worst when you forget and go out of your way to pick up something to drink only to be turned away at the last second!).

Dry Law on Sundays means sometimes you go to the grocery store and the entire booze aisle is blocked off with  streamers. Thanks for capturing this classic moment, Sarah!

Dry Law on Sundays means sometimes you go to the grocery store and the entire booze aisle is blocked off with streamers. Thanks for capturing this classic moment, Sarah and Sophia!

So there you have it, all things beer in Roatan. Now that you know what is and isn’t available, someone start importing more beer!!

About the author

Amanda Walkins

Serial expat Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer and blogger. She has lived in 7 different countries, traveled to many more, and loves helping people explore the world through slow travel and living overseas.