This time, we focused our attention on beers from some of the other Hawaiian islands. They are not always easy to find and they are sometimes expensive (compared to the mainland). And, most places don't offer tastes which means you have to commit to a full pint, can, or bottle. This allows for a better experience of the beer but limits how much you can actually taste at any given time.
There is a whole lot more Hawaiian beer to explore but this is what we tried in the time we had:
From Kona Brewing Company enjoyed at Hula Grill Ka'anapli
- You can find their Longboard Lager at almost any establishment, as well as in bottles at various retail locations. It is very popular. Very light malt flavor and low hops, it drinks easy at 4.6% ABV. After two or three, though, I'm ready for something more robust. For many others, however, this is their beer of choice while on Maui.
- I'm no expert (yet) but I thought the Fire Rock Pale Ale drank more like an amber than a pale ale. It's copper color and 5.8% ABV lent to that experience. More robust than the Longboard, yes, but not more refreshing, imho.
- Their Hula Hefeweizen is a traditional Bavarian-style weissbier. Try it with a slice of orange or pineapple, or both. This one registers at 5% ABV.
We also sampled Barefoot Brew which is specially brewed for Hula Grill by Maui Brewing. It is a honey amber incorporating Macadamia Nut Blossom Organic Honey with tettnang hops. Slightly sweet, and full of honey flavor.
From Waikiki Brewing Company enjoyed at Ka’anapali Grille and Tap Room
- Ala Moana Amber - light, smooth roasted malts, slightly hoppy. Very drinkable at 5.6% ABV. This was our second favorite of the Waikiki beers we sampled on draft.
- Eee Pah IPA - at 7.65% ABV, this one is hoppy with a strong malt backbone. Flavorful in all dimensions.
- Hana Hou Hefe - this was our favorite. Equal parts malted barley and malted wheat with noble and tettnang hops. Orange peel and strawberry purée added a soft and refreshing sweetness. At 6.55% ABV, it might be a little dangerous as an all day sipper but it's definitely worth a second pint or a growler fill at the very least. (Yes, Ka'anapali Grille sells and fills growlers.)
- Jalapeño Mouth - a well balanced amber with jalapeño spice. Its bark is worse than its bite so don't let it scare you. A strong chili aroma at hits you right up front but the jalapeño flavor is mild enough to keep it highly drinkable. I liked this one very much, easily enjoyed at 5.36% ABV.
- Skinny Jeans IPA - don’t let the light hoppiness fool you. This beer is 6% ABV. Mosaic and simcoe hops create a light, classic West Coast IPA flavor profile. We were offered a taste but didn't drink a whole pint. My impression is that it's well worth coming back for. (Sounds like a good pre-shuffleboard plan to me.) We also found this beer available in cans from Island Grocery Depot at a good price.
By the bottle:
Hanalei Island IPA from Kona Brewing is POG forward, meaning the fruit flavor profile is made from passionfruit juice, orange juice, and guava concentrate (POG). You can't get more Hawaiian than that.
Overboard IPA by Big Island Brewhaus is an award-winning beer for some award-winning shuffleboard. "Men's Journal included this beer in its 2016 list of 101 Best Beers in American, it won a 2014 World Beer Cup Bronze Award, and was Gold Medal winner in the U.S. Open Beer Championships in 2013 & 2011." [Big Island Brewhaus | Beer] As for the shuffleboard, Hubby is ahead in the scoring. Yesterday's match ended in a tie, however, under the stadium lights**. Grudge match will be held later today at 5pm. (Note to self: get more beer.)
By the can:
Aloha Spirit Blonde by Waikiki Brewing - hoppier than the name implies with perle, tettnang and cascade hops, and a strong malt backbone. (Know your hops, know your beer.) Easy drinking at 4.6% ABV, we found this beer at Island Grocery Depot.
Bikini Blonde Lager and Big Swell IPA by Maui Brewing Company are fairly ubiquitous on Maui in the can or on draft. The Bikini Blonde is a "clean, crisp & refreshing Helles, perfect any time" - a pretty spot on description. Big Swell is citrusy, refreshing, and easy to drink but at 6.8% ABV you might want to be careful about how much you drink. Delicious, nonetheless.
~your faithful beer researcher on Maui
*SPAM is not locally sourced. "Spam that is sold in North America, South America, and Australia is produced in Austin, Minnesota (also known as Spam Town USA) and in Fremont, Nebraska."[Wikipedia] So, if we're talking about family reunions, Austin MN could be a good spot. Just saying.
**Also known as, cell phone flashlights propped up on nearby lounge chairs.