Beers in Hawaii….Part 1 of 2

I’m back from my whirlwind trip.  8 days in Maui followed by 3 days in Boulder (yes, there will be a Boulder blog).  Now that I’m back I can finally start writing again.  I have to say, there are a LOT of good beers in Hawaii.  The post below is only beers I drank outside of breweries…..and are from Hawaii.  I had several non-Hawaii beers (clearly) but will not be blogging about those because, well, we’ll get to them eventually.

Most of my beers were from the Maui Brewing Company, which was great…Part 2 will be a deep dive on my tasting flight in the brewery….yes!

If you haven’t been, got to Maui…..great beer, great vibe and tons to do!

Maui Brewing – Mana Wheat

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Presentation: Maui Brewing puts all of their beers in cans (I think) so I made sure to capture pictures of the cans to because they were very cool.  This beer is kind of a hazy yellow/orange color that’s pretty typical for a wheat beer.  Generally, I don’t like wheats unless they have blueberries or some other berry.  

Style: Wheat (with Pineapple)

Brewery: Maui Brewing Company

ABV: 5.5%

IBU: 18

Method: From the can….

Overall taste:  Ridiculously drinkable.  The pineapple is really smooth and goes down easy.  Like I said, I’m not a huge wheat guy but this was very good.  The low IBUs give it just enough bitterness that it’s got some flavor without overwhelming the pineapple or the wheat.

Recommended drinking location:  Most definitely outside.  I drank mine by the pool…..yep

Ideal consumption amount:  Pretty easy drinking here, I’d think you could easily get 6 down reasonably without hurting yourself.  It’s really less about how many you can drink vs how many you SHOULD drink

Similar Beers:  SeaDog Blueberry Wheat compares well….different because of the berries vs pineapple but in the same range

Big Island Brewhaus – Overboard IPA


Presentation: Really good looking IPA from the Big Island of Hawaii.  It has a really nice dark copper almost burnt orange color.  It pours a pretty thin head so you don’t get a lot of foam when you first start drinking.  Not that this matters, but really nice logo/bottle too 

Style: American IPA

Brewery: Big Island Brewhaus

ABV: 6.7%

IBU: 50

Method: Cheesy 80’s drinking glass from our condo

Overall taste: Excellent taste, one of the better IPAs I’ve had in a while.  It’s a little dank but not too dank and the citrus (mostly orange) blends in really well with the dank.

Recommended drinking location:  Drank this one by the pool too……

Ideal consumption amount:  It comes in a 22oz bomber so I’d only drink one, two if you were REALLY going for it but one is perfect.

Similar Beers:  Kona Castaway IPA compares well and also the Big Swell IPA from Maui (review below is a touch better imho but very similar

Maui Brewing Company -Bikini Blonde


Presentation:  I drank quite a few of these in Maui but all of them out of the can so I can’t speak to the look of this one really (woops).  I LOVE the can thought, funny little blonde hula girl on the side.

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Brewery: Maui Brewing Company

ABV: 5.1%

IBU: 18

Method: As above, all from the can…

Overall taste: Excellent taste, this was probably my favorite beer in Maui and I’m not a huge fan of Blonde beers really.  It’s got subtle fruit flavors along with a very light honey taste as well.  These were the definition of easy drinking and smooth

Recommended drinking location:  I drank these by the pool and on the golf course….and they were great!

Ideal consumption amount:  No comment

Similar Beers:  First “Helles” I’ve had (I think) so I can’t recommend any others (yet)…I may have found a new style to experiment.

Maui Brewing Company – Primo Pilsner


Presentation: Beautiful golden pilsner in a 22oz glass at the outdoor bar of the Westin Residences…..such a great spot to drink.  Honestly, it was smoking hot out so I think we could have had 66oz of this at the time but that’s another story…

Style: Czech Pilsner

Brewery: Maui Brewing Company

ABV: 4.5%

IBU: 30

Method: 22oz glass

Overall taste:  Fantastic taste.  Rumor has it this has sugar cane in it…it certainly tasted that way.  VERY easy to drink and ridiculously smooth.  Just the right level of carbonation to give it a little buzz but still make it easy drinking.   It’s a very fresh and citrus filled drink.  Great stuff

Recommended drinking location:  I know I’ve been kind of saying “outside” all post but this one would be great in a bar.  I’d love to have seen it back East on Nantucket…it would be a big winner.

Ideal consumption amount:   Drink freely

Similar Beers: Another unique one for me….it’s not really like North Coast “Scrimshaw” as it’s a little sweeter.

Maui Brewing Company – CoCoNut Porter

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Presentation:  I got to see this one at the brewery and it has a very nice dark brown flavor to it and a yellow/golden head to it.  I have to say, this beer smelled amazing…an excellent burnt chocolate scent with very vibrant coconut just kind of ooze out of this beer.  It gets rave reviews on Beer Advocate so I was excited to see it so easily available in Maui!  #winning

Style: American Porter

Brewery: Maui Brewing Company

ABV: 6.0%

IBU: 30 (excellent!)

Method: Can (and a few in a glass)

Overall taste: Fantastic flavor really, amazing stuff.  What I really like about MBC in general is the use of local ingredients (coconut and pineapple) and this is another winner.  The coconut is very present but doesn’t overwhelm the porter.  The porter flavor is great.  Nice coffee and chocolate flavors with a little smoke (not very much) which is then perfectly complimented by the coconut.  The other benefit of this beer is it’s super drinkable.  

Recommended drinking location:  It’s a porter so for me, colder weather the better but this was great by the grill in Maui.

Ideal consumption amount:  2-4

Similar Beers: It’s like a lot of porters but really a good comparison is Deschutes Black Butte which is easily available (unlike the Maui stuff)

Maui Brewing Company – Big Swell IPA

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Presentation: Another winner!  Nice hazy orange color to this one, on the darker side (not that pale orange you can see) and a decent head on it.  The head is pretty basic white, not overly think or slimy like some IPAs can have.  

Style: American IPA

Brewery: Maui Brewing Company

ABV: 6.8%

IBU: 50+

Method: Can and proper IPA glass later in my trip

Overall taste:  Very fruity orange, grapefruit and maybe even a little lemon just pop when you drink this beer.  Good stuff, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  There is a little pine flavor as well but it’s not overwhelming or too much due to the medium IBU which makes it a bit more subdued.  

Recommended drinking location:  Anywhere you’d drink an IPA….

Ideal consumption amount:  2-6

Similar Beers: It’s definitely a step below the Sculpin’s and Pliney’s of the world but it’s very good.  I’d compare it well with Lagunitas IPA which is a great standard IPA

Ok, this it for this update.  I’ve got a bunch more beers to review (more Maui and Boulder) plus a surprise guest blog as well!


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