KONA BREWING COMPANY
“Kona Brewing Company was started by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. The pair had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. Their love of Hawaii, and a desire to protect the pristine environment here, brought them to the Big Island to fulfill their vision. Kona Brewing continues to be headquartered right where it began, in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island.”
- Big Wave (80 Points)
- Fire Rock (84 Points)
- Koko Brown (85 Points)
- Longboard Lager (78 Points)
- Pipeline Porter (80 Points)
- Wailua Ale (85 Points)
BIG WAVE: 80 Points
This Golden Ale is available year round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Big Wave is a lighter bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor – a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and our special blend of hops provides bright quenching finish.”
My Description: This beer is so-so. There is nothing special about this brew, it is better to just chug it and get it over with. It begins with a large, white colored head that fades to a film that holds for a few minutes and leaves behind a sub-par amount of lacing. The aroma is simple with a moderate woodsy hop aroma that is the best part of the beer. Big Wave is light/medium bodied with a higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The beer is crisp and refreshing but there is not much there as far as flavor. There are pale malt notes and a touch of hops but they just taste decent, nothing of high quality. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with not much flavor. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with light pasta dishes, grilled shrimp, or salads.
ABV: N/A Color: Gold Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
FIRE ROCK: 84 Points
This American Pale Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Fire Rock Pale Ale is a crisp, refreshing “Hawaiian-style” pale ale. Its signature copper color results from the unique blend of specialty roasted malts. The pronounced citrus-floral hop aroma comes from the liberal amounts of Galena, Cascade & Mt. Hood hops added to each brew.”
My Description: This is a slightly complex pale ale that is enjoyable and worth trying out. It begins with a large, light beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a wall of glued on lacing, real nice. The aroma has toasted grain notes and some citrus hop notes but overall the scent is shallow and not pronounced. This beer is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. There are grain notes and some earthiness in the flavor profile. These are accompanied by a citrus hop presence that brings good balance to the beer. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and slightly harsh. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with BBQ chicken, bean stew, or Thai noodles.
ABV: 5.9% Color: Copper Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2/10
KOKO BROWN: 85 Points
This Brown Ale is released in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste.”
My Description: I enjoyed the coconut addition to this Brown Ale but there was not enough hop additions to bring balance to this sweet ale. It begins with a good sized, light beige colored head that fades to a film and holds for some time leaving behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and inviting with notes of toasted coconuts, roasted malts, and coffee. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer is smooth and easy drinking. There are flavor notes of coconut, roasted malts, and a hint of coffee. There is also a nutty note that makes an appearance. However, I feel that this beer needs to be more fuller bodied with more pronounced flavors. Plus, there is very little bitterness to counter the sweetness. Still, it is a good drink and the coconut is interesting. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Thai noodles, BBQ ribs, or roasted duck.
ABV: 5.5% Color: Dark Brown/Red Tint Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
LONGBOARD LAGER: 78 Points
This Lager is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Longboard Island Lager is a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged for weeks at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor. A delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma complements the malty body of this beer.”
My Description: This is a nice enough beer to drink on that hot summer day but nothing that I would ever seek out. It begins with a good sized, bright white colored head with a decent retention level but it leaves behind almost no lacing. The aroma is simple with notes of pale malts and a touch of hops. The beer is light/medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The beer has a prominent malt backbone with only the slightest hint of hop flavor. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and refreshing enough. This beer just does not satisfy my lager craving. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with burgers, grilled chicken, or SPAM!
ABV: 4.6% Color: Straw/Gold Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
PIPELINE PORTER: 80 Points
This Porter is released in the Fall and Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew.”
My Description: This Porter has the tasting notes that are correct for this style but they just don’t taste that good, even with the beer being created with 100% Hawaiian coffee. It begins with a decent, beige colored head that fades quickly to a film and leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is subtle with with notes of roasted malt and hints of chocolate. This beer is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. Roasted malt notes dominate the flavor profile. There are also notes of coffee and a touch of chocolate. The aftertaste has an unpleasant lingering metallic taste that ruined everything for me. This beer is better to chug then to sip and enjoy. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with pot roast, hearty soups, or chocolate desserts.
ABV: 5.3% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
WAILUA: 85 Points
This Wheat/Fruit Ale is released in the Spring and Summer months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Swimming in a fresh water pool at the base of a cascading waterfall is what we all imagine we would find in paradise. On Maui, follow the old Hana Highway and you will find such a place – Wailua Falls. This plunging cascade of clear water is the inspiration for our Aloha Series seasonal release Wailua Ale. This golden, sun colored ale has a bright, citrus flavor that comes from the tropical passion fruit we brew into each batch. Sit back, relax and enjoy paradise anytime.”
My Description: I like the flavor profile in this beer because I could imagine myself enjoying this kind of beer chilling under a waterfall in Hawaii. It has a decent, white colored head that fades quickly to a film and leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting and smells real nice with notes of pale malts, light fruits, and a touch of citrus. This ale is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. There are clean flavor notes in this beer that include some fruit notes and almost cream-like presence. This beer is more on the sweeter side with a very minimal bitter aftertaste. This ale is great for a hot summer day. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled fish, roasted chicken, and salads.
ABV: 5.4% Color: Gold Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10