Hawaii Beer Review

I swear I’m not a complete bore in real life. I mean, I know I complain about things that others would hashtag with #whitepeopleproblems — like going on vacation for two weeks in Hawaii but having to work or help with all the babies and only getting to the beach once — but I’m a reasonable, happy-go-lucky, down-to-earth guy. I just like to complain sometimes. Don’t take me too seriously.

You can take me seriously, however, when I disparage the state of Hawaii craft brewing.

There are two decent “big” craft brewing spots in Hawaii — Kona Brewing and Maui Brewing — and they can brew it, to a degree. You’ll find them in your local better beer shop (especially Kona, who has paired up with Widmer and Red Hook for distribution in the mainland), and they’re decent. While on the islands, I had a few Longboard Lagers and their Koko Brown, a coconut brown, and though neither is worth writing home about, neither is terrible.

One Hawaiian beer even rose to the level of ‘interesting.’ The Sobrehumano Palena’ole — a collaboration between Maui and Jolly Pumpkin, which makes a Rose Hip Saison that I love — was interesting. A malty sweet and sour beer, it didn’t quite decide what it wanted to be, though. Seeing ‘cherries’ on the can, I expected a sweet beer, and there are some hints of passion fruit in the smell and a lot of cherry in the taste, but it’s tarter than a sweet beer. It’s also a malty amber, so it’s not a sour. Definitely not sweet like a lambic. The beer is a little muddled, and I wanted it to make a bolder decision, but it wasn’t terrible. (It gets terrible reviews from some people.)

End good part of Hawaii Beer Review. The rest of the Hawaiian beers were boring or awful. I’ll include some of the watery lagers I didn’t even take notes about in a general way — there were some watery ‘pale ales’ on the island that were just generally terrible and Red Stripe like. Like the Mucho Aloha Hpa, pictured at the top of the review, featuring one of the better tag lines I’ve seen. That was called a pale ale. It was a watery lager. Or the Mehana Humpback Blue from Hawai’i Nui Brewing — it had a complicated name, but a simple, boring taste.

Of course, I’m a mellow, down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky guy. I didn’t get too down about the bad beers, after all I was in paradise. What I did enjoy was the world-class beer aisle in the Kailua Whole Foods (pictured below), the great food at the Kailua farmers market, a scuba dive, a world-class sushi dinner at Kona Kai Sushi (the chef’s taster is highly recommended – the guy left Sushi Sasabune to open his own in a sports bar), and the company of my happy and healthy family, with a new nephew to boot.

Oh and I did enjoy some great beers — the New Zealand craft offerings I’d never seen before — but that’s for a happier post and another time.

About enosarris

I write. About baseball, mostly, but also about the anthropology of sports, travel, cooking and sometimes music. But yeah, baseball mostly.
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