Love Craft Beers? This Cruise Ship Is For You

ABOARD THE QUANTUM OF THE SEAS — your boat, Craft beer fans has come. Literally.

Billed as the first gastropub in sea, the centrally-located Michael’s Genuine Pub is the outlet for James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, who is known for a focus on artisanal goods in his restaurants in the Cayman Islands and Miami.

“What we specialize in here’s American art spirits, craft beer along with a small, concentrated American wine list, then all the product on the other aspect is from small artisan manufacturers mostly from the USA,” Schwartz tells USA TODAY through a tour.

An offshoot of Schwartz’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, the pub offers such celebrated American craft beers as Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bear Republic Racer 5 and Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Beers from New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company, Oregon’s Full Sail Brewing and Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company also are on the menu as is Michael’s Genuine Home Brew — the home beer in Schwartz’s land-based eateries.

Cruise lines have been slow to add craft beers to ships as they become available at restaurants and bars across the USA. Many cruise ships only stock a choice of the biggest mass-produced beers like Heineken and Budweiser.

Schwartz says obtaining beers, spirits and food items to a ship can be a challenge. Training staff to understand the products is an issue. But the need is there, he says.

“I think that the sophistication level of the palate, especially the American palate, is changing, and that need for better or more interesting or more lively food options is totally what’s driving this,” he says.

In 168,666 tons, Quantum is the third largest cruise ship ever constructed, boasting 16 public decks and room for nearly 5,000 passengers. Just Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas’ Seas and sister Allure are larger.