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

How well do you know Big Island beers? Here’s a round-the-island guide to Hawai‘i Island’s top breweries.


Hawai‘i Island is an adventurer’s paradise, with towering volcanoes, countless waterfalls and rugged nature to explore. For beer lovers, there’s the state’s first modern-day brewery and many more that have sprung up in a rapidly growing craft beer scene—each brewery and taproom unique to its part of the island.


If you’re visiting multiple locations around the island, make sure you have plenty of time to linger at each group of breweries. The island’s geography varies drastically, so there are breweries next to the ocean and one boasting the highest elevation in the state.


Let’s take a circle tour around Hawai‘i Island, heading clockwise starting from Kona.


Kona Brewing Co. brewery and taproom

Hawai‘i Island breweries: Kona Brewing was the first of the modern era

Photo: Alexander Gates


Kona Brewing has a long history in Hawai‘i, starting in 1994 as a small brewery and now distributing around the world. The Hawai‘i brewery facility and two pubs—one in Kona, the other in Hawai‘i Kai—split off as their own company a few years ago, producing Kona beers only for in-state consumption. The new state-of-the-art facility under head brewer Ryan McVeigh produces draft kegs and local cans of all the core favorites and many limited Backyard Batch selections (look for the ridged top and “Made in Kona” tag on the side). Tours can be booked online or at the Growler Shack in Kona. The original brewing facility is now a restaurant with bars inside and out. The Growler Shack also has draft and canned beer to go, so if it’s busy, you can grab pints to enjoy outside while waiting for a table.


This walking-friendly area is known as the Brew Block—be sure to check out Willie’s Hot Chicken, HiCO Hawaiian Coffee and other shops nearby.


74-5612 Pawai Pl., Kailua-Kona,, @konabrewinghawaii


SEE ALSO: Beer Festivals to Watch for Around Hawai‘i in 2023


Ola Brew Co. Kona brewery and taproom

Ola Brew Kona Bar Alexander Gates

Photo: Alexander Gates


A quick drive away in Kona is Ola Brew Co., another larger brewery that distributes canned beer, hard tea, seltzer and ciders around the state. The facility includes a taproom bar with many draft options, food and an outdoor seating area. Keep an eye out for live concerts on the brewery grounds featuring local musicians. The company started with orchards and juices, so many of its alcoholic drinks feature locally grown guava, liliko‘i and other fruits. For beer lovers, there are many classic styles. My favorites include the A‘a IPA, Altbier (a rare style to find), and the Double Grapefruit IPA.


74-5598 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona,, @olabrewco



Kohanaiki Microbrewery

Among Hawai‘i Island breweries, only Kohanaiki Beer is in a private resort

Photo: Alexander Gates


Just south of the Kona airport, Kohanaiki is a private resort and golf club—the only one in the country with a full-time brewer and dedicated brewery—so access is limited to members and their guests. While it started small in 2016, Steve Balzer took over in 2020 and has grown production from about 12 barrels a year to more than 90 this year. The Tanoshimu Rice Lager and Tropical Gold Pale Ale are popular on the golf course, but the Elevators IPA is the biggest all-around hit. Kohanaiki’s beer can be found on draft and in cans at the restaurants, bars and golf course comfort stations. Brewery tours and tasting sessions are popular.


73-2055 Ala Kohanaiki, Kailua-Kona,



Holoholo Brewing Co.

Holoholo Brewing is finalizing its location in Waikoloa and hopes to open this year.



Big Island Brewhaus

Big Island Brewhaus Flight Alexnder Gates

Photo: Alexander Gates

A winding drive along the coast and through ranch land brings you to Hawai‘i’s highest brewery in elevation at 2,764 feet above sea level. Big Island Brewhaus beers have won many awards, including a gold at the Great American Beer Fest in 2018. The brewery bottles a few core beers that can be found at stores throughout the state including Golden Sabbath. Owners Thomas and Jayne Kerns recently brought in Brett Cruikshank as a brewer; Cruikshank and his wife, Kat, invited me to try the beers at the source, where production and development are collaborative efforts. The taproom has a friendly hometown vibe, with regulars and tourists stopping in for a pint or a meal. I recommend the falafel patty sandwich, but there’s so much more I wish I had room to try.


64-1066 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea,, @bigislandbrewhaus


SEE ALSO: Holoholo to Hawai‘i Island for These 3 Legit Waimea Food Finds


Hilo Brewing Co.

Hilo Brewing Taproom Alexander Gates

Photo: Alexander Gates

Hilo Brewing Co. has a long history of producing drinks and beer under other names, but the newest iteration can also be found in cans around the state. Visiting in person is more fun: They have arguably the largest flight in the state with up to 12 different beers, depending on availability. Be sure to talk story with head brewer Sebastian Bach—he will take you on a tour of all the flavors they make. The brewery is open-air with umbrella tables and outdoor games, and on-site pizza is available from Zan’s Grinds. Look for limited bottle releases like Kanaloa IIPA and barrel-aged beers around the holidays.


275 E Kawili St., Hilo,,@hilobrewingco



Ola Brew Co. Hilo taproom

Among Hawai‘i Island breweries, Ola Brew’s taproom in Hilo features local music and art

Photo: Alexander Gates


With the popularity of their brewery, Ola Brew expanded to share their beer with the Hilo side. The Hilo Taproom recently celebrated its first anniversary, and much like the original location in Kona, the taproom features live music concerts from local artists. The food menu changes frequently. Friday limited-can releases can be picked up on opening each week, same as at the brewery on the Kona side; you get all the perks no matter which side of the island you are on. Even if you’ve been to the brewery, it is worth a stop at the taproom with its local art and local music near historic downtown Hilo.


1177 Kilauea Ave., Hilo,, @olabrewco



Wailuku Brew Works

Already producing and pouring beer at events such as Hilo Brew Fest in 2022, Wailuku Brew Works is slated to open a brewery taproom this summer, if not earlier. This place also produces mead. Follow their social media for updates about opening.


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



Cheers to your next Hawai‘i Island brewery tour and beer tasting adventure!