Big Island and Kaua‘i Each Get a New Beer Brewery and Taproom

Here’s the latest from Wailuku Brew Works and Nāpali Brewing Co., plus an update from Hilo Brewing Co.


Hawaiʻi is so much more than Waikīkī and Oʻahu. Each island has its own vibe, and beer fans will find that the beer scenes are unique and thriving, with some long-planned breweries finally opening their doors. Weekend trips are rewarding, so hop on a plane and try these two new places.


Hawai‘i Island

Wailuku Brew Works

With almost 20 years’ brewing experience, Brian and Jillane Bosscher have built Wailuku Brew Works from a few homebrew taps serving friends and family into a brewery and taproom that opened this past weekend. East Hawai‘i’s newest beer destination is a cozy spot in an unassuming building along Hawai‘i Belt Road next to the popular Ma‘ona Lunch Counter. We visit shortly before the opening, talking story and drinking the new beers.


Wailuku Brew Bar Pc Alexander Gates

Photo: Alexander Gates


Business partners Jake Parcels and John White helped fulfill the vision. It was Parcels who made the taproom’s bar top and tables of mango wood, which twinkle in the afternoon light. The décor features large photos of waterfalls and verdant greenery around the brewery. We try six beer styles, a number that will increase to fill all 16 gleaming stainless taps soon. “I want everything to be new and different on every visit,” says Brian Bosscher, who works as an emergency room doctor in addition to brewing beer. “We all want to give back to the island, not take.”


SEE ALSO: Maui’s Beach House Beer Opens Brewery and Taproom in Chinatown


Jillane pours us a flight: Steineken ABV 4.2%, Wailuku’s take on the ubiquitous “green bottle” beers; Stay Golden ABV 4.6%, a crisp blonde ale; ITO IPA ABV 6.2%, the flagship India pale ale named for the airport (and my personal favorite of the bunch); Pretty in Pink Kölsch ABV 5.6%, the brewery’s Pink Boots Society scholarship benefit beer for this year; Eminem Mango Milkshake IPA ABV 5.6%; and a new Imperial Stout ABV 9.1% that was added after the quick disappearance of the popular Niu Nui Coconut Porter, which is going to make a return soon. We even get to try a few unfinished beers right out of the tanks, including a hazy IPA. “We want to offer something for everyone,” Jillane says.


Wailuku Brew Flight Pc Alexander Gates

Photo: Alexander Gates


Outside food is welcome, as new restaurants have opened nearby. The drink menu also includes wines and craft cocktails, a selection that is set to grow. Until the full beer menu is ready, only draft pours for on-site consumption and limited crowler cans will be available for purchase, no growlers or kegs just yet.


Wailuku Brew Tanks Pc Alexander Gates

Photo: Alexander Gates


The appeal of grabbing a pint and waiting out pau hana traffic, plus cans to go, make the brewery an after-work oasis. Judging from the number of Wailuku Brew Works hats and T-shirts worn by attendees at the Hilo Brewfest, held earlier in July when the brewery had not opened yet, the community is already supportive.


16-205 Wiliama Pl., Kea‘au,, @wailuku_brew_works



Hilo Brewing Co.

Hilo Brewing Co. has a century-long history of producing drinks for the Big Island. Owners have come and gone, but the new ones have their own storied history in beer. Ron and Laurie Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Michigan fell in love with the Hilo area, and together with other investors, purchased the company in June. While specific plans are under wraps for now, look for the continuation of Hilo Brewing staples on store shelves across the state, along with exciting new selections.


275 E. Kawili St., Hilo,, @hilobrewingco


SEE ALSO: Your Guide to Hawai‘i Island’s 6 Breweries–Plus 2 More Opening Soon



Nāpali Brewing Co.

After a few delays, Nāpali Brewing Co. opened in Kapa‘a Town this spring. Owners Blake and Kati Conant hope the taproom ambience, drenched in tropical greenery and aqua hues, will transport you to the Nāpali Coast. The food menu focuses on pūpū, including huli chicken skewers, curry crab cakes and Brussels sprouts. While the beer selection still features cans from other local breweries, Nāpali’s first beer, Hamajang Hazy IPA, should be pouring from taps by the end of July. Look for more beers on an expanded menu coming soon.


4-361 Kūhio Hwy Suite 100, Kapaʻa,, @napalibrewingcompany



Cheers to your next neighbor island beer adventure!