The USO ambience of Oahu's Home of the Brave Brewing Co. underscores its patriotic theme. // © 2016 www.hotbbc
Feature image (above): On Hawaii Island, Kona Brewing Co. serves a variety of refreshing island-made beers. // © 2016 Kona Brewing Company
Nothing goes better with fun in the Hawaiian sun than a cold, frothy beer made in the Aloha State. In recent years, a wave of craft brewery openings has washed across the islands, quenching thirsts along the way.
Beer buffs never have to travel far in Hawaii to locate a local libation. Better yet, many of the state’s breweries offer tours and free tastes to help hopheads discover their favorites. Following is a rundown of craft Hawaiian beers and the places people can find them.
Big Island Brewhaus, Waimea
With names such as Malama Lager and Pau Hana Pale Ale, there’s no mistaking that this brewery has Hawaii roots. Set in upcountry Waimea, it turns out award-winning lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts, bocks and ales. Its locally sourced food pairs well with the potables.
Hawaii Nui Brewing and Mehana Brewing, Hilo
In one handy location, clients can taste products from two brands. Among Hawaii Nui’s four labels is Southern Cross, with overtones of caramel and subtle citrus. Mehana’s five varieties include the mild and earthy Humpback Island Lager.
Kona Brewing, Kailua-Kona
This family-run operation lays claim to Hawaii-inspired beers, such as Wailua Wheat, enhanced by tropical passion fruit. A one-hour tour of its brewery comes with four samples and a free gift. Construction of a new state-of-the-art facility is underway.
Kauai Beer Co., Lihue
Kauai suds take center stage in this friendly pub. Try the company’s original Black Limousine, a refreshing dark lager, or one of the newer additions such as the malty Lihue Lager. They make a mouthwatering match for the eatery’s ultra-fresh food.
Kauai Island Brewing Co., Port Allen
Billed as the world’s westmost brewery, this lively hub in an industrial center features 35-foot-high metal ceilings and views of Hanapepe Bay. Microbrews include the light-bodied Westside Wheat and the hoppy Captain Cook’s IPA. The pub grub ranges from burgers to soups and salads.
Kohola Brewery, Lahaina
Taking its name from the Hawaiian word for whale, Maui’s newest microbrewery sports distinctive drinks such as the Pineapple Lokahi, a fruit-infused pilsner, and the Talk Story, a classic pale ale. In between swigs, guests can play one of the games on the tables, from Jenga to gin rummy.
Maui Brewing, Kihei
One of Hawaii’s bigger brewers, Maui Brewing recently expanded its production facility, but it remains fiercely local. The tasting room serves sips of authentic ales and lagers, including Big Swell IPA and Coconut Hiwa Porter. Some of the beers are used as ingredients in dishes on the pub menu.
Home of the Brave Brewing Co., Honolulu
While it was created to honor the U.S. military, this USO-style hangout is open to everyone. Clients can quaff patriotically-themed beers such as Pilot Pale Ale and 442 Go For Broke, then tour its museum, which features one of the largest private collection of WWII memorabilia in the Pacific.
Honolulu Beerworks, Honolulu
This neighborhood haunt pours unique products, including Pia Mahiai, an ale made with locally-grown oranges, tangerines, lemongrass, limes, lemons and honey. Recycled wooden walls and communal bench seating add a hip, rustic mood. The food menu features regional ingredients.
Lanikai Brewing Co., Kailua
In the compact tasting room of this windward-side establishment, visitors can try beers that incorporate island ingredients. Its two flagships are the Pillbox Porter made with Hawaiian and Tahitian vanilla, and 808 Imperial IPA, brewed with local pikake flowers.
Waikiki Brewing Co., Honolulu
From the bar of this Waikiki oasis, guests get a great view of the brewing equipment. Popular beers include the light Aloha Spirit Blonde Ale and the chocolate- and coffee-imbued Black Strap Molasses Porter. The creative food menu is highlighted by truffle fries and a kalua pork Cuban.