4 Local Beers to Celebrate International Beer Day in Honolulu
This local beer expert explains what Honolulu beers you need to try right now.
BEER LAB HI SERVES BETWEEN SIX AND EIGHT DIFFERENT BREWS AT ANY GIVEN TIME. Certified Cicerone Timothy Golden suggests the b.b. porter to celebrate international beer day today.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox
It’s International Beer Day, one of the coolest made-up calendar days of the entire year. Just think about it: Beer is ingrained in every culture across the globe, is made from ingredients from different continents, and is a beverage we relax and celebrate with. It’s truly the common man’s (and woman’s) drink.
What better place to represent and celebrate International Beer Day than in Honolulu? We have one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse cities in the world. And the same goes for the beer that is now being brewed here. Over the past five years, the beer scene on O‘ahu has changed dramatically for the better and we’ve got more choices than ever when it comes to high-quality, freshly brewed beer.
Here, on O‘ahu, we’ve got breweries that are making beers with local fruit, hand-picked hot peppers, local spirits barrels and even local ocean water. The ingenuity and creativity that is happening in our local breweries is off the charts and we (the local beer drinkers) are reaping all of the benefits. It was only a few years ago that O‘ahu was without a single locally owned and operated brewery. Today, we have six operating breweries (Lanikai Brewing Co., Honolulu Beerworks, Beer Lab HI, Waikīkī Brewing Co., Home of the Brave and Aloha Beer Co.), with another moving to a larger facility (Stewbum & Stonewall) and one planning on opening in the next few months (Inu Island Ales). We’ve never had so many local beer options, and the best part is that each brewery has its own unique identity and is brewing fun and tasty beers.
So, instead of reaching for an imported beer from the Netherlands or the Mainland on International Beer Day and over the weekend, venture out to one of our local breweries and give your support to them. Mingle with the diverse crowd at the brewery and enjoy the warm summer weather. Honolulu is the perfect beer town and we’ve got some killer beers to prove it.
Here are a few local beers with global flair to seek out on International Beer Day:
Makai Pier Gose, Aloha Beer Co.
A traditional German-style wheat beer with a slight tartness and touch of salinity. Aloha’s brewers put a local twist on this beer by using ocean water collected from Waimānalo Bay near the Makai Pier (hence the name). The combination of tart and salty gives this beer a crisp, refreshing and dry finish, perfect for these hot August days.
700 Queen St., (808) 544-1605, alohabeer.com
Bangkok Wheat, Honolulu Beerworks
Pad thai as an inspiration for a beer? Sounds crazy, but it works brilliantly. The brewers at Honolulu Beerworks took their uber popular Cocoweizen, a coconut-infused German Hefeweizen, and spiked it with peanut butter, Hawaiian chilies, lemon and spices. The result is a beer that hits you with layers of flavor from the second it touches your lips and lingers all the way down after you swallow. A touch of heat, some sweet coconut, roasty peanuts and finally gentle, citrusy herbal notes.
328 Cooke St., (808) 589-2337, honolulubeerworks.com
B.B. Porter, Beer Lab HI
The brewers at Beer Lab HI like to take advantage of the abundance of amazing coffee we have available here in Hawai‘i. They brewed this smooth porter with Maui coffee beans to infuse a wonderful roasted dark espresso flavor into the beer. Although this beer looks dark and heavy, it is actually rather light and easy drinking at only 5.5 percent abv. If you’re a fan of coffee or espresso drinks, you’ll love the slightly sweet chocolate notes that play along with the deep coffee flavors.
1010 University Ave., (808) 888-0913, beerlabhi.com
Pinehopple Swipe, Lanikai Brewing Co.
Another example of our local brewers reaching back into the past and getting very creative. Back in the old plantation days, swipe was a common drink among the workers. Basically, it was a moonshine made from whatever fruit or fermentables they could get their hands on. Lanikai has created a wonderfully tart beer that is loaded with the sweet flavors of locally grown white pineapples. Then, they dry-hopped the beer with Denali and El Dorado hops, which impart a vibrant tropical fruit aroma. While not nearly as potent as the classic backyard swipe of yesteryear, this beer is deliciously tart, fruity and refreshing.
175 Hāmākua Drive, Kailua, lanikaibrewing.com
Timothy Golden is a certified cicerone, homebrewer and beer lover. He also owns Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room at Salt at Kaka‘ako. Find more of his writing on Hawai‘i’s beer scene at beerinhawaii.com.