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Saturday, January 19, 2008

From Kailua Kona, Briefly

After a very rocky ten days looking for an internet connection, looks like I've finally got one. (Lots could be said, but interesting content it ain't.) I don't have too much time to reflect on the Hawaiian brewing scene, but a couple words while it's fresh in my mind. I went to Kona Brewing last night for my 40th birthday--you could call it a wake for my youth. I've had some Mehana beers from Hilo across the island as well, so my sample size, while small, is growing. Quick takes:
  1. I came in expecting light, malt-centric beers typical of the tropics. Not so. Hawaii is an extension of the west coast, brewing-wise. (Literally every person we've talked to who lives here either is from or has relatives in the Pacific Northwest. Quite a lot of anti-tourist animus --not surprisingly--but it softens when people hear where we're from.)
  2. People drink the good stuff. Last night, I tooled around the pub and looked at glasses, expecting to see very pale pours. Again not so. The pub has two porters and a stout on tap, and a lot of people were drinking them. (Paradise it is--the upper reaches of the the mercury are about 85, and it's usually 80. In the evenings, it's room temp--perfect for a pint of plain.)
  3. Passion fruit has a very hop-like signature. As attendees of the OBF know, Kona has a passionfruit wheat. I have found it t too sweet and assumed it came from a mass-market brewery, but when I had a whole pint and compared it to Sally's muscular IPA, I recognized what they were going for. I'd love to see it used in an IPA, in greater moderation, to see how it would accentuate some chinooks and centennials.
  4. The water here is hard and acidic (I think), bubbling as it does through caustic volcanic flows. That gives the beer a rather interesting signature. The Mehana pale especially has a strange, almost Belgian-like tartness.
More when I return. That's just a quickie. See you Friday

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jeff - happy b-day.
    I enjoy your blog.
    Can you email me - I am working on a beer story (yes, seriously) and would like to ask you about a couple things.