If your tastes tend more toward hops and malt than distilled sugar cane, Maui doesn’t disappoint.
On a hot day, find something really cool at Maui Brewing Co.’s Kahana brew pub: Take a perch at the bar and look along its back edge for the frost-rimed, refrigerated strip just wide enough to set your beer glass and keep it pleasantly cold no matter how long you stay. It’s an invention nicely suited to tropical Hawaii.
My wife and I shared tasting flights (eight little sipping-size beers) along with Happy Hour pizza slices ($1.50, 3-6 p.m. daily). The beers included:
• Mana Wheat, with Maui Gold pineapple, which made me want to lick my chin.
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• Coconut Porter, with a definite toasty coconut flavor.
• Barrel-Aged Chinwig, which spent a lazy year in a bourbon barrel.
• Lahainatown Brown, a roasty American ale.
• Aloha Bak’Tun, a Belgian-style stout made with local chocolate and chili (yee-ha!).
• Bikini Blonde, a light German-style lager.
• Big Swell IPA (for your own personal hoppy hour).
• Lemongrass Saison, a Belgian-style brew made with Maui lemon grass (“Oh, that’s odd,” said my spouse).
The brew pub’s hanging light fixtures are made from old beer kegs. Menu specialties include the Black Rock Dip sandwich, with beef brisket, provolone, onions and horseradish cream sauce on a beer-grain roll, $14; and Adult Mac ‘n’ Cheese, with andouille sausage, mushrooms, provolone and Parmesan cheeses, garlic and truffle oil, $19.
You can also tour the brewery, which includes a small tasting room, just off the highway in Lahaina. The $10 guided tour includes tastes of all the production beers, plus a token good for a beer at the brew pub.
Useful tip for the tourist: In Hawaiian, “Okole Maluna” means “bottoms up!”