Our correspondent from the north recently returned from a visit to the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Kauai. In between sight-seeing and beach-going he managed to visit a couple of breweries and has provided us with the following report.
Over this past holiday season, I had the opportunity to visit the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Maui. After a little research, I discovered microbreweries on each of the islands. First I drank at the Kauai Island Brewing Company after a long day on the beach.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill
First Thoughts: The Kauai Brewery is the westernmost brewery in the world. There, you just learned something. It seemed to be a smaller operation but there was an upstairs seating area that I liked. Since they are based on an island, the brewery had a nice nautical/Hawaiian theme.
NO IPAs?!?: Right off the bat, I noticed two beers on the list I wanted to try: Captain Cook’s IPA and Na Pali Pale Ale. Since I am an avowed hop head, those choices seemed to be no brainers. Other beers on their list were just bonuses. Much to my surprise, however, they were out of both! Needless to say I was pretty bummed and even contemplated leaving. I mean, come on, the beers I chose were two of their flagship beers and they were out. To me this is pretty much unacceptable.
The Beer: After I stopped pouting to my wife I made my selections and ordered several ales, they had one IPA on tap called the Fonz IPAaaaaaa (…get it!?!) and a couple lagers. They all seemed a little on the light side, probably for easier drinkability because it is always so hot in Hawaii. Additionally, the IPA could have been a little hoppier but that is just my personal preference.
Final Thoughts: Beside the fact that they were out of two flagship pale ales, I did end up enjoying myself. We had some food, chatted with some locals, and I got a neat shirt. I do suggest you stop by if you are in the neighborhood and have the time.
First Thoughts: The Maui Brewery has two locations on its namesake island; a bottling plant and a brewpub. The brewpub is located in a strip mall and I was a little unsure about what we would find there. But, after stepping inside, we discovered that the inside of the place was huge. They even had a spot on the upper level for beer tanks. They had a huge selection of beers, both flagship and an even larger assortment of experimental and seasonal brews.
The Beer: I was able to try two different IPAs and some good amber ales as well. We had a coconut porter that my wife loved but was lost on me. I am just not a fan of coconut. Their Big Swell IPA is very floral and aromatic and is great to drink on a warm sunny day on the beach. I also tried the Freight Train IPA which seemed very flat, drinking it seems like drinking odd tasting water. I need carbonation in my beer.
Final Thoughts: Overall I was very impressed, there was good food, and I got another t-shirt. I tried very little of their flagship beers and focused more on the harder to get releases because I found out they are amping up their production. The brewery is building a second brewpub and a larger production facility. This means they will be increasing their distribution as well; I will definitely be on the lookout for Maui beer in a can.