6 Favorite Local Beers From the Honolulu Brewers Festival
What we liked from the Honolulu Brewers Festival.
Photos: Aaron Yoshino
Slightly overcast skies and the occasional rain shower were no problem for enthusiast crowds at the second annual Honolulu Brewers Festival this past weekend. Some attendees brought festive costumes; others hauled their beach chairs and set up makeshift picnic spots on the lawn of Kaka‘ako’s Makai Gateway Park.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Honolulu Brewers Festival
But everyone seemed to be having a good time, enjoying the live music and sampling from the 20 food vendors, including Square Barrels, Monkeypod Kitchen and MW Restaurant, and, of course, what everyone came for: the beer. With 10 four-ounce pours included with each entry ticket, there was plenty of room to taste around.
Belgian and German beer fans could target established favorites such as Brouwerij Van Steenberge or Brauweri Ayinger. West Coast aficionados had their pick from Deschutes, Ballast Point, Anderson Valley and Breakside.
We explored what was on offer from local breweries, which continue to get better every year. Here’s what we’ll be looking for in our local markets and restaurants going forward:
Stewbum and Stonewall Brewing Co.’s Makana Island Wheat
Pale gold in color with light bubbles, this refreshing wheat entry was made for easy summer drinking. It’s the kind of beer we’d want as a starter with some afternoon pūpū.
Home of the Brave Brewing Co.’s 442 Go For Broke
This entry from a newcomer to the Island brewing scene isn’t exactly shy. Featuring five different types of hops, it skews big, bold and bitter, with tropical notes on the nose.
Lanikai Brewing Co.’s Route 70 Saison
Farmhouse-style beers can vary widely. This new entry from Lanikai Brewing Co. is reddish-brown, full-bodied and rich, with just a touch of that traditional Saison-style funkiness. It’s well-balanced, with some fruity, cherry-type notes.
BeerLab Hawai‘i’s Maui Coffee Porter
This porter is on the crisper side of the dark beer spectrum, making it nimble enough for summer drinking. The coffee notes add a different type of bitter note in addition to the hops.
Big Island Brewhaus’ Graham’s Pilsner
Pilsners tend to get overlooked by the craft beer crowd in favor of more extreme styles, but that’s OK—more for us. We’d happily drink this well-balanced, crisp beer all year long.
Maui Brewing Co.’s Black Lava Gose
Here’s a beer if you’re looking for something a little offbeat. Gose is an old German style of beer that’s gaining traction among the beer cognoscenti. This entry is darker than most and has the telltale salty, tart gose characteristics, but also a malty influence that adds some body.