Kona Brewing Co.

By admin • September 20, 2011

Just another place with sand between its toes

Kona Brewing Co. was started by a father and son team that moved to the big island of Hawaii from outside of Oregon. They produced their first two beers in 1995 (both of which are still being produced today) and now has eleven beers regularly on tap at their main brewpub with around five seasonals and a few guests.

Though you will find Kona beers in stores on the mainland these are actually not brewed in Hawaii. Kona have partnerships with a few breweries on the mainland which do their brewing for distribution through the rest of the US. They use the same hops, malt and yeast as well as making modifications to the local water to match the water in Hawaii. This helps drop distribution costs as well as ensure the beer is fresh when it gets into your hands.

Like many businesses on the islands in Hawaii Kona goes to extra efforts for sustainability. Spent grain is passed on to ranchers and used to bake pizza doughs and breads for the restaurant, they recycle water from A/C units and reclaim heat from the brewing process to heat water. Producing its beer on the mainland is another part of this, drastically reducing their transportation costs and carbon footprint.

Kona have three locations around Hawaii now. Their main brewery and brewpub is in Kailua on the big island. A basic tour of the facility is free and this actually comes with free samplers of four of their beers. They have a second restaurant in Koko Marina on Oahu as well as a pub in the Honolulu airport.

Maui Brewing Co.

By admin • September 13, 2011

Handcrafted ales and lagers brewed with aloha

We first discovered beers from Maui Brewing Co. at a beer festival in Santa Rosa. They have been operating from the island of Maui since 2005 but their beers are now starting to appear in stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado and Puerto Rico. They have been showing up to beer festivals since they started though and have a decent list of medals to show for it.

One of the things that makes MBC unique is that they distribute their beer in cans rather than bottles. This is a part of their commitment to sustainability. Cans are cleaner than bottles (which shatter) and there is a can recycling facility on Maui but no glass recycling. Cans also let no light in which slows the aging process of the beer, though I guess some might argue that is a downside!

As well as using cans MBC also turns leftover vegetable oil from their brewpub into biofuel, donates spent grain to local farmers, has installed solar panels onto the roof of its brewing facility and sells spare barley to local homebrewers at near cost, a significant saving over what shipping would be for such small quantities. All part of wanting to help the local community wherever possible.

MBC has two locations, both on the North-West corner of Maui. Their main brewery is in Lahaina where they give detailed tours of the brewing process. Attached is a tasting room which will normally have five of their beers on tap. Their brewpub is a few miles further North in Napili. They do some small scale brewing here and also have around 16 of their beers on tap plus a couple of guest beers.

The Porterhouse

By Stella • April 10, 2009

The Porterhouse is Ireland’s only microbrewery of note. (Contrary to popular belief, the Irish have incredibly limited beer options, and they consume mainly Guinness with occasional doses of Smithwick’s and Carlsberg. They keep Budweiser on tap for American tourists, and regard Corona as a sort of goofy fun novelty which they’ll import a crate at a time, again, for the American tourists.) Soldier on, Porterhouse. May craft brew thrive one day in Ireland. Until then, you hold down the fort with the only non-pretentious, legitimately homespun establishment in the Temple Bar.

Due to being in a neighborhood packed with students and aspiring artists, the wait staff at the Porterhouse are ridiculously attractive people in their early 20’s. Although the place is usually crowded, service tends to be prompt and courteous although unfortunately nobody there seems to know anything about the beer other than it is brewed on premises. Don’t expect the servers to have the beerducation that a typical Northern California brewpub employee will have. However, Beer Buffs can glean the essentials from the informative menu.

The Porterhouse occupies a killer location in the Temple Bar and is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and other watering holes that suffer from being overpriced, pretentious, and sometimes downright shabby. Some restaurants are cramped and poorly lit, and many of the hotels are just the same old run-down 19th century buildings with a new coat of paint. The Porterhouse, by contrast, has an interesting open, multi-level plan that combines the look of a converted warehouse with Craftsman style. The most interesting architectural feature is the stage, suspended above the second floor and easily visible from all levels. Should you get the chance to visit, be sure to drop by on a Sunday to see Sliotar, the pub’s house band.

Unsurprisingly, the best beers at The Porterhouse were the two porters we tried — Their regular porter that’s always on tap and a seasonal chocolate porter that was probably manufactured from Leprechaun blood and rainbows. Some of their other selections are dull and watery, such as the Bitter, and others are interesting experiments but don’t belong on a permanent tap, such as their oyster flavored ale– yes, I said oyster flavored.

The food is great, the atmosphere is lively, and if you can get past the slightly pretentious air put off by the wait staff, it’s a fantastic place to have a great pint, hear first-rate live music, and enjoy a meal.