I just finished spending 2 heavenly weeks on the beautiful island of Maui. Sunshine, tropical rainforests, waterfalls and beaches. The island is a wonder of many sorts. You can do just about anything you want to, but one thing is a must; hanging loose. It sounds like a tacky tourist / surfer cliche, but once you’ve spent a few days on “Island Time”, it becomes pretty obvious. Just take it easy, forget the rush, you’ll get to it eventually. It’s such a refreshing departure from our busy city lives.
One of the many things I was excited about going to Maui for, was being able to sample all the amazing American micro-brews. Being from Canada, I’ve read a lot about them, but never get to try any. So my first order of business was to hit Whole Foods Market and grab me some beer!
I looked straight away for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is legendary in the world of microbrews, as is anything from Dogfish Head. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Dogfish has established themselves on the island yet. Next I was curious to see what the handful of local breweries had to offer. Kona Brewing Co. had several, such as Fire Rock Pale Ale, Big Wave Golden Ale and Wailua Wheat, in addition to a few others. Mehana Brewing Co. had Volcano Red Ale, Mauna Kea Pale Ale, Humpback Golden Ale, to name a few. Since we were on Maui, I decided to give Maui Brewing Co.‘s mixed 6-pack a try. It included 2 Coconut Porter, 2 Big Swell IPA and 2 Bikini Blonde Lager. All of their beers come in cans.
Their claim is that using cans has a number of benefits including:
- cans can be recycled almost indefinitely
- eliminates the possibility of oxidation and light damage
- chill faster
- they don’t break like glass, keeping the pristine beaches of Hawaii clean (you’re allowed to drink on the beaches)
Usually I refuse to drink beer from a can. They simply don’t taste as good in my opinion. Though I have to say, either it’s not as noticeable in darker beers, or they have a different way of canning their beer, but they still tasted amazing.
As part of our drive up the northwest coast of Maui, we drove through the historic town of Lahaina and on past the famous Ka’anapali Beach area. A few miles past Ka’anapali Beach is a small vacation town called Kahana. The Maui Brewing Co.’s brewpub is in the Kahana Gateway Center, at 4405 Honoapiilani Highway. It’s loud, and has plenty of TV’s and music blasting, as I suppose some pubs should. It’s not usually my style, but we’re in Maui, and these guys make beer, so what the heck am I complaining about? They have 12 beers on tap, plus a few extras that may be served from cans or bottles. I tried their Pueo Pale Ale, which is a standard American style Pale Ale, and is quite delicious. The big hit was the Coconut Porter. My wife isn’t a huge beer drinker, but she LOVES this beer. Even at 6%, it’s nothing but tasty goodness. Rich in chocolate/coffee flavours and a bit of smokiness. It has just enough of the toasted coconut as not to be overpowering. Porters, I’m starting to notice, are perfect beers to add these subtle flavours. Perhaps their water is well suited to darker beers, or maybe it’s just a great recipe, because this one knocked it out of the park!
On another trip up to the area, we stopped into the production brewery, which is at a different location. It’s in Lahaina at 910 Honoapiilani Highway #55. The small tasting room mostly displays the beers they can on site. They also sell a small amount of grain and hops for the home brewers in the area if you’re interested. Since barley and hops don’t grow on Maui or the other islands, all the supplies must be shipped in from the mainland.
So if you’re ever visiting Maui, treat yourself to a bit of brewing ‘aloha’ with Maui Brewing Co.’s great selection of beers.
FOR COFFEE LOVERS:
As a side note: If you happen to drop by the production brewery, don’t miss stopping into Maui Grown Coffee which is only a block away. (277 Lahainaluna Rd. Next to the famous smokestack.) The coffee is grown 3.5 miles up the highway on the slopes of West Maui. The farm is free to visit if you want to see the actual plants and try some ripe coffee berries yourself. They have a broad selection of roasts and blends for the 4 varieties they grow as well as some green coffee beans if you prefer to roast your own. We were given samples of 7 different kinds by a very knowledgeable staff member in order to decide for ourselves what we liked. We ended up buying quite a few bags for gifts and for ourselves. If you like coffee, this is a MUST DO! Don’t waste your money buying Kona blends from tourist shops that usually only have 10% Kona coffee in it. Support Maui Grown Coffee because their coffee is fantastic.