As a fan of better beer, you may know the history behind the birth of India Pale Ale (IPA), a style that evolved as a more highly hopped, higher alcohol by volume (ABV) Pale Ale that would survive the long sea voyage from England to the British colonies in India. So, what do England, India, and IPAs have to do with a review of a stout from Jamaica? Well, the evolution of IPA has some similarities with this beer’s stylistic subcategory: “tropical stout.” Stout is not a single, uniform style of beer. There are multiple substyles, with most folks being familiar with the version of Guinness you find at your local pub, an Irish Dry Stout (there are multiple versions of Guinness in fact, spanning nearly all the stout substyles). In order for stout to survive the long, warm journey to various tropical and other export locales, a bigger-bodied, roastier, higher ABV version evolved. Jamaica has held on to the tradition of brewing stout in this style, known as Foreign or Export Stout, with versions made for, or in, tropical locales known as Tropical Stouts. Tropical versions can be quite sweet without much roast character or drying bitterness, while export versions tend to be moderately dry (like a scaled-up version of Irish dry stout). Big City’s Jamaica Stout is a tropical stout; expect fruity esters, with prunes, raisins, and black cherries along with some coffee-like roastiness notes on the nose. The beer goes down with much of the same flavors as those hinted at in the aroma, with plenty of chocolate and coffee, flashes of black licorice, and dark rum with a nice warming sensation from the alcohol. We suggest enjoying as an aperitif, or pairing with chocolate rum cake.