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Beer Review #234 Big Wave Golden Ale

This is my fifth beer review of Kona Brewing Company. For the most part I have had good experiences with one notable exception. This is the first new beer that I have seen from them in some time (I really want to forget that brown ale) so I grabbed a bottle or two when I was at the beer store. One thing I do want to say about Kona before I get to the beer review is that I love their style. Their bottles feel like Hawaii. As someone who digs bottle art and marketing in general, I appreciate what they can capture on a small bottle.

As expected of a beer name Big Wave Golden Ale this beer pours a clear golden color with a solid white head. The first thing that struck me about the nose was the citrus aroma with a slight hop twinge. Usually citrus hops scream out, but this one had a strong smell of citrus without the hop craziness. A nice malt sweetness and bread mix into the citrus to really make this a round nosed beer.

On the first taste citrus makes a reappearance with a nice light lemon flavor mixed in. A light hop flavor carries all of the way through the beer. It is by no means strong but it does present itself from front to back. There isn’t a lot of hop flavor even as the beer warms. I think the light hop flavor knocked out any malt flavors that existed.

This was a lighter beer that I found very refreshing. The citrus hops very crisp at the end of the drink and really cleaned everything up well. I think this beer makes up for my past experience with Kona. (more…)

Beer Review #224 Koko Brown

I have reviewed a number of Kona Brewing Company beers in the past with generally good results. I rarely see a new beer from them on the shelves of my local beer store so I grabbed a few bottles of Koko Brown when I saw it. The bottle says that it is an “ale brewed with toasted coconut and natural flavorings added.” I’m not exactly sure what natural flavorings they are talking about but I have had a beer with toasted coconut before and found it rather enjoyable.

Koko Brown pours a clear light brown color with a thin white head that quickly disappears. The nose is packed with strong coconut. I didn’t get any hops or anything else for that matter, just coconut. I was expecting some malty sweetness, but the coconut outshines it if it is there at all.

On the first taste I got what the nose promised, loads of coconut. There was also a lot of  sweetness with a bit of caramel mixed in there. Again I didn’t taste any hops and this beer stays extremely sweet. I don’t have much else to say about the flavor of this beer as coconut and sweetness is really all it offers.

This is a one bottle beer for me. The coconut was over the top along with the sweetness. There was no balance to this beer. Instead of giving some hints of coconut this beer hits you over the head (repeatedly) with it. If they dialed back the coconut a good bit they would have a better beer. I think that I’ll stick to the normal Kona lineup as this one didn’t do anything for me. (more…)

Beer Review #114 Pipeline Porter

It has been some time since I last reviewed a Kona Brewing Company beer. To be fair, they don’t offer a ton of beers, but I have enjoyed most of what they make. I last had Pipeline Porter when I was in Hawaii a few years ago and loved it. It is a porter that is brewed with 100% Hawaiian Kona coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I really dig a coffee flavor in beers. My first 5 gallon batch of homebrew was a Kona Stout, brewed with Kona coffee I brought home from my trip to Hawaii. It is still one of my favorite creations to date. I’m not sure what it is, but normal coffee is a bit too intense, but coffee in beer, bring it on.

Pipeline Porter is a limited release in the continental US, but is a year-round brew in Hawaii. This porter pours a black color and has a tanish head. The nose is really wonderful. It has a rich coffee smell with a light touch of sweetness. The coffee really washes out everything else, but it is fresh and very nice. Another strange thing with my coffee “problem,” I love the smell of coffee.

Coffee really comes out in the flavor of this beer as well. The sweetness upfront comes out as caramel, but the coffee really dominates the flavor of this beer. I really dig this beer, even though coffee is the main player, it seems surprisingly balanced. I think a coffee drinker would like this beer as well. I was actually eating some Hershey’s caramel Kisses while I had this beer and I think they are the perfect compliment. If you see this Kona beer, grab it, I don’t think that you will be disappointed. (more…)

Beer Review #66 Wailua Wheat

I really dig Kona Brewing Company. I think it is more do to the fact that I loved the time that I spent in Hawaii, but I do love me some Kona. Wailua Wheat from the Kona Brewing Company is a wheat ale brewed with passion fruit. The bottle says that it is a limited release, but I have no idea how limited it was. I got it when I was in Texas, so it probably wasn’t super limited. I guess it falls into a summer release as it is in production from March to September. Wailua is Hawaiian for two fresh water streams mingling.

It pours a light straw to blond color and is perfectly clear. For a wheat beer there really wasn’t much head to speak of. It was pretty thin, full of tiny bubbles, and white. The nose is very sweet. You can get the fruit on the nose as well. I really don’t know what passion fruit smells like, but I think the beer captures a good fruity smell that I can only imagine is passion fruit.

Wailua Wheat has a slight biscuit flavored maltiness which is quickly taken over by the passion fruit. The two flavors then combine on the aftertaste and mix really well. There is no hop to speak of which was just fine with me. The beer is actually pretty solid for a fruit wheat beer. Usually the fruit is over the top and makes it undrinkable. Wailua Wheat is much more balanced, but as you drink more, the fruit/sweetness starts to get a little overwhelming. Not a bad beer by any means and a solid summer beer, but not something I loved. It did take me back to Hawaii for a bit, and for that I am thankful. (more…)

Kona Brewing Company Fire Rock Pale Ale Beer Review

09-03-06-01Last summer I was in Hawaii and had the joy of the Fire Rock Pale Ale. I haven’t had it since August, but I ran across a six pack here in Texas and I knew I had to try it again. Let me start off with what the brewery has to say about its beer:

“Fire Rock Pale Ale is a crisp, refreshing “Hawaiian-style” pale ale. Its signature copper color results from the unique blend of specialty roasted malts. The pronounced citrus-floral hop aroma comes from the liberal amounts of Galena, Cascade & Mt. Hood hops added to each brew.”

09-03-06-08I like that they refer to it as a Hawaiian-style pale ale because  I believe it is the only pale ale made on the islands. I remember reading the following somewhere, but I am unable to find it now, so bear with me. The brewery is located on the Big Island and there beer there is only served on the islands. The company is environmentally conscience and has another brewery on the mainland that produces beer for the rest of the beer for the states. If you know if this is false or true please let me know.

09-03-06-04Anyway, Fire Rock Pale Ale has a wonder aroma to it. It is mostly hops on the nose and a very citrusy hops at that. It pours a copper to light orange and has a bit of haze to it. The head on the beer is great, it diminishes somewhat, but lasted through my entire drink.

For a pale ale, there is a lot of body on the drink. Nice and malty with the hop carrying through the beer. It finishes smooth and the hop sits on your tounge for a bit. Unlike a lot of American Pale Ales this is a balanced beer that isn’t overly hopped. I think the biggest thing with this beer is that it is very drinkable. I remember sitting by the pool at my hotel with a six pack of this stuff and just loving the day away. If you happen to run into a six pack, go ahead and pick it up, I don’t think you will be disappointed. (more…)