9 O‘ahu Brewery Updates and Reopenings
Discover local brewery-led workshops and tastings, new limited releases (including a Jean Claude Van Belgian Blonde) and reopening dates.
Updated on Friday, May 29 after more breweries sent in their updates.
Dropping into your favorite bar after a long day at work or meeting friends at a brewery on the weekend are activities we clearly took for granted. With the state’s stay-at-home orders quickly put into effect in March with little time to prepare, there were questions for businesses on how they could stay operating and making a profit with limitations on contact with customers. For a beer fan, there is nothing better than having a newly released draft pour at a brewery and talking about it with the brewers. Hawai‘i’s breweries and bars have been working hard to keep their customers engaged and drinking their beer. Here are updates on how local breweries have adapted:
Beer Lab Hawai‘i
Photos: Alexander Gates
All of Beer Lab Hawai‘i’s three locations have been closed to bar customers. It instituted a website with a reservation system to limit interaction time on takeout orders. The menu is updated as often as necessary; simply select your beers, a pickup location and time, then pay at the register. To encourage sales, all crowlers (single-use 32-ounce cans filled by draft pours), are buy one, get one 50% off for the duration of the restrictions. Every Thursday, Beer Lab announces a limited beer selection for four-pack can release on Friday; these usually sell out in a few hours so reserve yours quickly! A recent unique release was the Hambala ‘Ukulele, an ale made with peanut butter and strawberry and raspberry jelly. Beer Lab also recently added online workshops previously available only for its employees. The first was about hop aroma, which included a selection of six hops and online discussion with the brewer ($20). Check Beer Lab’s social media for future workshops about beer and brewing.
Multiple locations, beerlabhi.com
Waikīkī Brewing Co.
When dining in was restricted, Waikīkī Brewing Co. began fixing daily food specials to-go at its Kaka‘ako brewery. Prime rib, barbecue, soft pretzels, pizza and taco kits are on a rotating schedule and can be reserved ahead of time as they often sell out. The company’s canned beers are sold to-go, by the case ($28) and six-pack (price varies). Its Pink Boots Society collaboration India Pale Lager, Wai Pua ABV 5.2% was released only in cans with a portion going to the Pink Boots Society for educational scholarships for women in the beer industry. Waikīkī Brewing also canned its mainstay Eee Pah IPA ABV 7.2% for the first and possibly only time. The Kaka‘ako location will open June 5 with new safety procedures in place; the Waikīkī location will open a few weeks later.
Multiple locations, waikikibrewing.com
Honolulu Beerworks added a new Brew-Thru service with online ordering and payment, offering its mainline canned beers, available by the six-pack or case, plus limited releases in cans, merchandise, hard liquor and food kits such as grill-ready honey barbecue wings. Currently available is its Triple Threat 3x IPA ABV 11%, also benefiting the Pink Boots Society. All can be picked up without leaving your car. The brewer reopens June 5 with a new paint job, table separators and safety procedures.
328 Cooke St., honolulubeerworks.com
Hana Koa Brewing
Hana Koa Brewing added an online store with its full beer menu for reservation and payment. Beer is available by the crowler with new ones added every few weeks; one of my favorites for its crisp citrus flavor was the Man of Gold Dry Hopped Lager ABV 5.5%. On Friday nights, the brewers host an online tasting of four beer selections; the curated crowler set is available at a discounted price. Their kitchen is also open for to-go ordering, with rotating specials and bundles, including a 24-hour smoked brisket with mashed potatoes. They will be reopening June 5 with three new beers and a new full cocktail menu.
962 Kawaiaha‘o St., hanakoabrewing.com
Broken Boundary Brewery
O‘ahu’s newest brewery opened in Kalihi in April. Located inside the Homebrew in Paradise supply store, the location has been transformed into a production brewery and future place to drink with friends. The brewery has released six traditional beer styles such as the Jean Claude Van Belgian Blonde ABV 7.2% and the Sucker Punch West Coast IPA ABV 5.8%, all available to-go in growler (bring your own) and crowler fills, charged by the size.
740 Mo‘owa‘a St. Suite A, brokenboundarybrewery.com
Inu Island Ales
This brewery in Kāne‘ohe also resumed selling its beer through crowler fills. Normally its high alcohol stouts are only available to sample on premises but now they can be purchased to be enjoyed at home. In May, Inu had a bottle release of its Chikara Mizu stout with Madagascar vanilla beans ABV 13.5%. For the first time, all reservations and payments were done online with pickup time slots allotted to cut down on the number of customers at any one time. It sold out the day before release so be sure to check for future special releases on Inu’s social media.
46-174 Kahuhipa St., Kāne‘ohe, inuislandales.com
O‘ahu’s original craft beer bar is offering meal specials to-go, including the Hawaiian Plate with lau lau and kālua pig ($12) and the half-rack barbecue ribs with sides ($13). Its extensive draft beer selection is also available for growler fills, including Real Gastropub’s own Bent Tail Brewing Co. beers made on premises. Order online or over the phone.
506 Keawe St., realgastropub.com
Aloha Beer Co.
Aloha Beer Co. in Kaka‘ako reopened with a new line of canned beers and food selection. Its squat “oil cans” are 25.4 fluid ounces, which is two beers in one. Aloha Beer offers five of its main beers (prices vary by style) in the new cans, with growler fills available on others. A new addition to its expanding complex is Fatto A Mano, offering handmade pizza ranging from plain cheese ($15) to my favorite, the Queen Street Supreme ($19) with mushrooms, red onion, pepperoni, sausage and olives. Aloha Beer is tentatively scheduled to reopen on June 5 or shortly after.
700 Queen St., alohabeer.com
Lanikai Brewing Co.
Lanikai is pouring growler fills of all its island inspired beer, including the Pillbox Porter ABV 6.5% and Route 70 Saison ABV 7%. Open everyday from 12 to 6 p.m., order online for curbside pickup and delivery. Lanikai Brewing Co. plans to re-open soon, with its tables rearranged for social distancing.
167 Hamakua Dr., Kailua, lanikaibrewing.com
And more …
Stewbum & Stonewall Brewing Co.
Stewbum & Stonewall Brewing Co. in Chinatown will be making its own beer soon, but currently has a large draft beer selection from local and national breweries, notably kegs of American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA ABV 7% and Perfect Disguise DIPA ABV 8% from Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware, otherwise not available on draft in the state. The company offers growler and crowler fills at the door. Order at the bar or in advance online and it will be ready at pickup. Stewbum & Stonewall is also notable in that it offers beer delivery; order and pay online and your crowlers will be at your door in a few hours.
96 North King St., stewbumandstonewall.com
Olomana Brewing in Kailua is open for growler and crowler fills; Koholā Brewery and Maui Brewing Co. on Maui; and Ola Brew Co., Big Island Brewhaus, and Hilo Brewing Co. on Hawai‘i Island, all continue to brew and package their beer. Look for these independent local cans and bottles on shelves in grocery and convenience stores. Village Bottle Shop in Kaka‘ako has closed its tasting room temporarily, but still offers the largest selection of bottled and canned beers from around the world. The shop recently added an online store for to-go orders, or feel free to come in and browse wearing a mask; only two customers are allowed at a time.
Village Bottle Shop, 675 Auahi St. #121, villagebeerhawaii.com