Greetings from the Virgin Islands!
Matt & I are down here with my parents, celebrating a Caribbean Christmas – it has been an amazing break from the cold weather in Alaska. For the first time since like, May, my body has seen it’s swim suit and the sun (I’m coming home a golden brown thanks to SPF 50 sunscreen).
We are staying on St. Thomas, but decided to take a day trip over to St. John to enjoy the more ‘remote’ island: St. John is basically a huge national park – so the hiking is beautiful. We also decided to taste some beers!
We started our day pretty early: 7:30am. This is early considering St. Thomas is FIVE hours ahead of Anchorage – it’s like I was getting up at 2:30 in the morning to go do things. We took a taxi to Red Hook in St. Thomas to catch the ferry to St. John. There were a few people on the ferry using it as their commute to work – what a great way to start your day!
Once on the island, we grabbed an excellent breakfast downtown before exploring the National Park. Our waitress told us about a place called Solomon Beach, so we hiked there after breakfast. It was an amazing, beautiful spot less than 30 minutes from downtown. A few other people came, but for the most part we had the beach to ourselves.
Matt and I spent HOURS floating, swimming, finding dead corral, and skipping rocks in the warm weather. We chatted with a guy who lived on a boat, and saw a girl go off to snorkel. It was an island life I could get used to. Unfortunately, the sand that made its way into every crevice of our body also reminded us of Island life. Maybe we will stick with Alaska and it’s snow… at least snow melts!
After swimming, we met up with my parents to go check out the only brewery in the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. John’s Brewery at the Taproom.
St. John’s Brewery was founded by two guys who didn’t like their 9-5, so they moved to the islands and shared their love of beer. Currently, they feature several different beers but their main three – Tropical Mango, Island Summer Ale, and Island Hoppin’ IPA – are actually bottled and brewed for them by Shipyard Brewing Co. in Maine.
The Taproom has a cool island vibe – you can come in and order a beer, root beer, energy drink, or any liquor drink while enjoying fine cuisine (we ate lunch as well). They have a huge selection of beer on tap, but we decided to try their most popular options.
Matt went for the IPA, my mom went for the Pale Ale, and my dad tried the root beer. I did a flight of the Pale Ale, Mango Ale, and IPA. Overall, the root beer was the best thing in the world (I do love root beer!). The mango beer was good, with a mango flavor up front and a wheat-y pale ale taste when you swallow. It wasn’t something I could drink a whole glass of though.
Matt’s Pick: The Island Hoppin’ IPA
Emily’s Pick: The Island Hoppin’ IPA
Next time I’m in St. Johns, I would definitely come back to this spot – especially at the end of February! They host the after party for the 8 Tuff Miles race on the island, and most of the staff runs the tough race that is primarily uphill (in 80 degree weather!) before coming back to open the bar before staying open through the day and evening.