I got back from Hawaii last weekend and the euphoria of vacation has just worn off. Regular life is not nearly as good as vacation life, but at least everyone on Facebook can now look at the pictures and see how much fun I had. We did have a lot of fun and, while Hawaii isn’t a big beer destination, we did manage to drink (a lot) of good beer.
In Kona on the Big Island, the main draw was Kona Brewing. They have a cool pub just off the main drag in Kona with a nice outdoor patio. I recall sitting on that patio sipping a cool beer as one of the few times in Kona that I was not way too hot. Kona is really hot all the time, but thankfully Kona Brewing brews some wonderfully refreshing beers. My two favorites were their seasonal release Coconut Brown Ale (available only at the pub) and their limited release Pipeline Porter brewed with 100% Kona coffee (available in stores). Both were very flavorful and distinctly Hawaiian in their use of ingredients. Kona Brewing brews many other beers, all of which were good, and were the steady choice at restaurants and grocery stores.
When in the States, I still get a kick out of the fact that you can buy beer pretty much everywhere. As a Canadian, it was very strange to find beer in Safeway and Costco. I also found the price of beer (almost half) and how frequently I was asked for ID strange. Even my Dad was asked for ID, which likely made his holiday. Speaking of Costco, in the Kona location we came across Kirkland beer! I had no idea Costco had their own beer brand, but it turns out that this beer is made by the steady national brand Gordon Biersch. Canadians, note the price for a 24 pack and be jealous.
We managed to pick up a few other good beers including:
- Sam Adams Oktoberfest
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- Anchor Summer Beer
- Maui Brewing Coconut Porter
- Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde
- Mehana Brewing Volcono Red Ale
The first three in the list are fairly ubiquitous south of the border, but rare up here. The latter three were solid island choices, with Maui Brewing my favorite Hawaiian brewery besides Kona Brewing. If you are going to Hawaii, don’t go for the beer (not that anyone would be), but do make sure you try some Kona Brewing and Maui Brewing products.
In other news, it was the Ironman world championships in Kona while we were there. I’ve never seen so many narcissistic skeletors with shaved legs exercising for ten hours plus in forty degree Celsius heat. If anyone is wondering, compression socks (think knee socks) and speedos don’t go well together. I wanted to tackle them and force feed them a beer, would have changed their lives. To each their own I suppose, but I think my way of enjoying Hawaii was better.