Monday, October 30, 2017

What We Tried

On this trip to Maui, we tried to venture out a little, beer wise. We usually opt for locally sourced food* and drink, when available, whether we are traveling or at home and Maui is no exception. Beers from Maui Brewing can be found in most places offering beer as well as those from Kona Brewing (from the Big Island). My personal favorite, though, is Talk Story Pale Ale from Koholã Brewery (Maui). Light tangerine flavor, subtle malts, and 5.1% ABV makes it an all-day sipper.

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:

On draft:

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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Beer, here

... on Maui

Since researching Hawaii breweries, I've discovered a quite a few places in Maui that offer beers from neighboring islands. This is by no means an exhaustive list but I will endeavor to continue my research. Now that I know what to look for, I'm finding more and more Hawaiian craft beer.

The Cheeseburger Nation franchise owns or is in partnership with Waikiki Brewing Company. All three of their Maui locations feature a wide selection of beers from Waikiki Brewing as well as other Hawaiian and international beers. Cheeseburger in Paradise (menu) is located in Lahaina, Cheeseburger Grille and Tap Room (menu) is in Wailea, and Ka'anapali is host to Ka'anapali Grille and Tap Room which has, by far, the most extensive beer menu.

Island Grocery Depot had the lowest prices I've found so far on the island. This week, they are offering two beers from Waikiki Brewing Company - Aloha Spirit Blonde Ale and Skinny Jeans IPA - available for $7.99 in six-pack cans. They also had 22 oz. bottles from Big Island Brewhaus ($7.49) and Lanakai Brewing Company. (Don't quote me on these prices!)

Longhi's in Wailea offers one selection from Aloha Beer Company on tap. I neglected to get a price as we were still eating breakfast.

The Mill House doesn't offer inter-island beer but they do have an international selection and some very fine cocktails. The Mill House is a category all it's own. In fact, it doesn't really belong in this post. I just wanted you to know about it since it's a new discovery for us. Put on a nice shirt and make a point to stop by this place for lunch, happy hour, or dinner. Or, just stroll the grounds. It's a beautiful place.

Merriman's in Kapalua offers inter-island beers in cans and bottles although they can be expensive. A 22 ounce bomber is $18. The outdoor deck and happy hour food menu are amazing.

Pacific'O offers selections from Oahu and the Big Island for $14-$17.

Safeway at Lahaina Cannery Mall had three selections of Hawaii Nui Brewing - Kauai Golden Ale, Sunset Amber Ale, and Haps Brown Ale - available in six-pack cans for $8.49-$8.99-ish. (Darn, I should write these things down!)

Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors offers a small selection of Hawaiian craft beers at decent prices. By no means, the least expensive however. You can find Hawaiian, Japanese craft beer, and many West Coast beers in addition to major brands and other international beers here.

Many establishments offer craft beer from Japan. Tamura's, Star Noodle, and Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar come to mind. Hitachino Nest Beer is one to try.

We bought a few of these selections. I'll get back to you after I've had a chance to enjoy them. And as I find more Hawaiian beers available on Maui, I'll keep you updated.

~your faithful beer researcher on Maui

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Minit Stop Stormed for Coffee

A storm blew through the Hawaiian islands earlier this week knocking out power to nearly all of Maui early Tuesday morning. The Maui News reports the outage was due to high winds and multiple lightning strikes around the island. Power was restored by 4 pm for most people.

Apparently, the biggest risk during the power outage was a shortage of coffee. While the airport continued to operate, the rest of the island was in a panic over where to get their morning joe.
“It looked like Black Friday,” Kihei resident Arthur Criste Jr. said of Piilani Village Shopping Center. “This parking lot was crazy busy. People were trying to get gas, Starbucks was closed and everybody was going to Minit Stop for coffee.
Now, that's an emergency. Luckily, we had brewed our coffee the night before and stored it in the refrigerator. Sure, we might have lost all our food if the power hadn't come on early, but at least we had coffee.
Donna Tabulinar, store manager of the Minit Stop, said her store sold five to six times more coffee than she has ever sold in a day — even surpassing free coffee promotions. 
Maui unplugged | The Maui News
We went for a drive around 8:30 Tuesday morning. Any place that had power and was serving coffee had a line out the door. Gas stations were especially busy. In Lahaina, people were milling around a darkened Starbucks looking lost and confused. Cheeseburger in Paradise, one of the few places in Lahaina with power and serving breakfast, had a line down the street.

Further down the West Maui Coast, the Starbucks in Kihei was open with a long line out the door. The parking lot for the nearby Safeway was full as people were stocking up on - I don't know. I would think batteries but maybe it was coffee.

By the time we got there, nearly all The Shops at Wailea were fully functioning. By then, I was ready for another cup of coffee myself so I set about looking for a quick cup to go. Lappert'sHonolulu Coffee, and Island Gourmet Markets all had long lines. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf remained closed altogether. I gave up.

By Wednesday morning, the island of Maui was able to get their regular cup of joe at their favorite establishments. And a sense of calm prevailed.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Garage Takeover

There used to be a car in here.

No Rush

I'm sitting in bed, drinking coffee, and waiting for the sun to come up. Doesn't get much better than that.

I'm drinking a chilled coffee and don't have a coaster. Was too lazy to get up and find one so used an
Laziness at its finest.
open drawer instead. Figured there'd be little harm in that.

The flight to Honolulu was about five hours. A little bumpy but mostly uneventful. We flew on Hawaiian Airlines which is one of the only airlines left - if not the only - that still serves a complimentary meal to all its nearly 300 passengers. First class passengers got something else but the rest of us got a breakfast sandwich, preheated in a sealed plastic wrapper. Dated 7/31/17. Yum.

Once in Honolulu, we had about 90 minutes to kill before our next flight so we sought out some local craft beer at an airport bar. Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill offered selections from Maui Brewing, Kona Brewing, and Aloha Beer. We were headed to Maui so we opted for beers from Aloha, which is in Oahu, and Kona which is from the Big Island but with production facilities in several cities on the Mainland, including Portland, Oregon.

As the bartender was preparing our drinks, he gave our glasses the customary glass rinse only the star sink malfunctioned. After our beers had been drawn, he accidentally set one edge of a glass on the glass rinser which activated a spray of water into the air in all directions. Even after moving the glass, the water continued to threaten nearby bar patrons. I wasn't even sitting at the bar but it narrowly missed me, my phone, and my boarding pass.

We selected a different table further away while the bar staff got the flood under control. We finished our beers, made our flight, and eventually found our way to our destination. I'm just glad I didn't have to finish our trek in a soaking wet silk blouse.

The sun is up and my cup is empty. Outdoor temperature is 77F. Guess it's time to get my butt out of bed.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Granddaughter, are you missing something?

Lost pony found wandering in Vancouver store parking lot
You never know what you'll find at Ross Dress for Less. You might find a new pair of pants, a cheap shirt - or maybe a pony.

A few more before I go

Carpet and baseboard removed.

Discovered linoleum under our kitchen floor which was wood laminate.

Never Visit the Sausage Factory

... and Other Tales from the Dark Side.

Tax Season Part II ended Monday. That's the dark side. I'll have a break from work for a couple of weeks and then I'll start gearing up for next year. T minus six months until the next deadline.

I never know what to say when people ask what I do for a living. Usually, "income tax return preparer" is enough to avoid any follow up inquiry. If I say "accountant," others often hear "C.P.A." which I'm not. In any case, they hear "I give away advice for free" which I don't. Because, not C.P.A.

Most people are eager to change the subject after I mention income tax preparation. Or they want to involve me in a political discussion often having to do with an area of taxation I know nothing about. I like what I do for a living most of the time. But that doesn't mean I want to talk about it. And if I did, you wouldn't want to hear about it. It's deadly boring stuff.

Bond premium amortization, total and at-risk basis calculations, stock option basis adjustments, and ordinary income recapture on market discount bonds aren't necessarily interesting topics but they are highly technical concepts that the ordinary investor (and often their brokers) are oblivious - tax time or otherwise. I like the technical mechanics of a tax return. And I like the solo nature of preparing one.

I'm the person in the back room crunching the numbers and manhandling the tax software not the person who can talk about this stuff and relay the bigger picture to the client. I just make sense of the paperwork and try to be as technically accurate for as reasonable a price possible. And then I do it over and over and faster and faster until my head nearly explodes. Then I take a break, get reacquainted with my loved ones and start all over again. Sound like fun? 

I probably shouldn't write the recruiting brochure. Anyway, enough about me, what about that sausage factory?

The day after tax day, yesterday, a contractor showed up bright and early to get started on our hardwood floor installation. They seemed like nice guys. Showed them around and then headed out for an appointment. Came back and instant construction zone: garage is full of equipment, a load of lumber in the living room, another one in the dining room, dust everywhere, kitchen towels in use for who knows what, toilet paper exhausted in one bathroom, a borrowed phone charger. I can't wait to see how it all looks when it's done but I decided I didn't need to see how it gets done.
I meant to take a "before" picture but forgot before I left. This is a not-very-good picture of "just-got-started." I'm heading out of town for a couple weeks while they take over the entire space. Theoretically, it'll be done when I get back but I don't hold out much hope. These things never go the way you think they will.

Also, a not-very-good picture of me in front of a purple car. It was a Charger that was for sale. How would I look in that ride?

Which reminds me, finally, of Baby Driver. It's not a movie I would have picked but I had a whole lot of fun watching it. Check it out.