I recently returned from a fine trip to Hawaii, which included a stop at Kona Brewing Company. Hawaii now lays claims to several brewing businesses scattered throughout the island chain. Kona is the most famous and is available in the continental US through a partnership with Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc. in almost every state (I’m looking at you, midwest). There are two locations of Kona in Hawaii (three if you count Honolulu International Airport). The mother location is located in Kailua-Kona on the big island with a satellite branch located in Honolulu. This is the one I was able to go to, built beside a marina and offering a lovely lanai with a fantastic view.
And the beer was pretty good too.
My girlfriend and I were able to split a sampler of just about every beer offered, including specialties only able to be found at the brewery. These included a Citra hopped wheat ale, a dangerously drinkable Honey Cream Ale, Dryside Stout, their take on a Guiness that was also brewed with coffee, and Old Blowhole Barleywine. The latter was a reference to a naturally occurring phenomenon located just down the road from the brewery where waves crashing on the coast are shot through and opening and create a geyser effect. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s why it is called that. Other beers included their more well known and traditional offerings such as Koko Brown, Fire Rock Pale Ale, and Longboard Lager. I ended the night on the lager, as they were running an irrisistable deal of a 24 oz tall boy can for only $5. If you know how pricey items can be on Hawaii, you can attest that this had to be one of the best deals in town.
Overall Kona is a very solid brewing establishment. Their best beers were the rotating small batches, with my overall favorite being the Honey Cream Ale. For ones in your general neighborhood, check out the beer finder located on the Kona website and try the Koko Brown, a darker bodied brown ale with a creamy coconut taste.