Honolulu Beerworks: Opening a Brewery, Part Five

The new taps at the soon-to-open Honolulu Beerworks

Geoff Seideman had an ambitious goal: to turn a rundown warehouse into a craft beer destination in five months. In retrospect, the target opening date (last November) was too aggressive, but even so, building a brewery and restaurant from scratch in under a year is an impressive feat.

The final touches are being completed, including staff training, decorative touches and final city permit sign-offs. Seideman and his team, which includes a veteran local brew master, have been busy brewing since January to ensure that there will be plenty of beer available when Honolulu Beerworks opens its doors.

Plans are to open with the following nine beers on draft:

  • Shelter Bay IPA 7.7% abv
  • South Shore Stout 7.2% abv
  • Kakaako Kolsch 5.5% abv
  • Farmhouse Ale (Saison) 4.7% abv
  • Pacific Pale Ale 6.2% abv
  • Pia Mahiai (Honey Citrus Saison) 6.0% abv
  • Rye Pale Ale 6.3% abv
  • Session IPA 5.3%
  • Bitter (ESB) 6.2% abv

Seideman plans on having about six core styles that will always be available, while the rest will rotate. “Being small allows us to respond to customer demand and feedback," he says. "We’re excited to brew new styles and to experiment. We want people to come back to try new things and experience new beers.”

There are also plans to age different beers in used spirits barrels, like the recently-brewed 10.5% barleywine. Half of the batch will age in bourbon barrels for up to six months, while the other half will age in stainless steel kegs. South Shore Stout will also make its way into barrels to age and be released later in the year.

Seideman notes that it’s been difficult to source certain popular hops and has had to adapt many recipes to use what is available. Many of the most popular hops are bought up in advance and he hopes to have access to them next year. If he can get his hands on fresh or wet hops he plans on making a few fresh/wet hop IPAs in the fall as well.

When it opens, Honolulu Beerworks will offer a lunch and dinner menu with some items prepared with beer, such as a bratwurts cooked in beer, served with a housemade beer mustard and a sandwich with beer-braised pork and beef meatballs. Other items include an Italian hoagie with salami, capicola, black forest ham and provolone, a smokin' ahi dip, and zucchini cakes served with a sweet potato gratin.

So when can we finally expect to pull up a stool at the bar and order a fresh pint? Very soon, according to Seideman. Follow Honolulu Beerworks on Facebook for the official announcement, and check back here for news on opening day.

Read the other entries in the series:
Part 1: Geoff Seideman of Honolulu Beerworks 
Part 2: Financing, plans and construction

Part 3: Clearing the junk

Part 4: The first brew

Timothy Golden is a homebrewer and beer lover. Find more of his writing on Hawaii’s beer scene at beerinhawaii.com