The islands of Hawaii are fortunate to have Kona Brewing Company that
provides personable, flavorful ales and lagers to one of the world's
most isolated land masses. Kona's main brewery is on the "Big Island"
in the city of Kailua-Kona and has a delightful brewpub attached. The
brewery has also added a new, non-brewing pub/restaurant on the island
of Oahu located in the Koko Marina just a short drive from Honolulu and
Thanks to agreements between Kona / Anheuser-Busch / Widmer in
Portland, OR and Redhook in NH, the Kona beers are being brewed on the
two coasts of the U.S. and distributed to several states by the
extensive A/B network. Rich Tucciarone says, "The opportunity to join
the best beer distribution system in the world was a no-brainer." Kona
beers have already made their way to Georgia and were premiered to beer
fans in the state at the 2008 Classic City Brew Fest in Athens,
here to find where the Kona beers are available near you. Read on
for more information and photos regarding our enjoyable visits to the
Kona brewery and brewpubs.
& Photos by
Owen Ogletree - Posted July
Owen Ogletree is a national beer judge and beer writer for Southern
Brew News and ClassicCityBrew.com.
He is also the founder of the Classic City Brew Fest and the Atlanta
Cask Ale Tasting.
KONA BREWING HISTORY
Kona began brewing and packaging beer in February 1995. Since that
first year, beer production at the Kona facility has increased every
year by leaps and bounds (an average of 20% growth each year). Kona
beers are available in most pubs and restaurants all over the Hawaiian
islands and are presently making their way to several states in the
mainland. Rich Tucciarone made his way to Kona in 1999 from the
Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado - his job was to take control of the
brewhouse and maximize production of the range of Kona beers. Rich now
serves as Vice President of Brewery Operations.
The brewery is home to a 25 barrel (bbl) brewhouse with direct fire
kettles. The brewery cranks out 14 different styles for consumption at
the two brewpubs, with the top six beers listed below available all
over the islands in bottles and on draft. An ale, lager and wheat
beer strain of yeast are currently being employed in Kona's
fermentations, and the brewhouse usually does three brews a day. In
2007, 63,000 bbls of beer came out of the Kona brewery.
Kona brewery tours are
available Monday through Friday at 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM.
KONA BREWPUBS / RESTAURANTS
Kona Brewing Co. has two brewpub locations, each with its own great
atmosphere in which to enjoy the delicious food items and tasty beer.
Menu standouts include gourmet pizzas (try the Thai chicken with sweet
peanut sauce) made with spent grain, fresh fish specials, sandwiches,
pasta and salads. The kitchens uses the best local organic produce and
meats, and only the freshest local fish and seafood grace the lunch and
- Kona Brewing Company Pub,
75-5629 Kuakini Highway, Kailua-Kona, HI. (808) 334-2739.
- Kona Brewing Company Pub,
7192 Kalaniana'ole Highway (Koko Marina near Hanauma Bay), Honolulu,
HI. (808) 394-5662.
of the delicious Kona beer range in mid 2008...
|Longboard Island Lager
Longboard Lager is a smooth, refreshing lager fermented and aged for
five weeks at cold temperatures. A pleasing and noticeable spicy hop
aroma and flavor complement the pilsner-type malty body of this beer.
|Fire Rock Pale Ale
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
Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and
earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley.
This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee
grown by Dan Hubbard at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending
a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out
this palate-pleasing brew.
|Big Wave Golden Ale
Big Wave is a light golden ale with a subtle fruitiness and delicate
hop aroma. A smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The lightly roasted
honey malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and also gives a
slight sweetness that is balanced out by a pleasing blend of hops.
Maui's Wailua Falls is the inspiration for Kona's popular new fruit
beer. This golden ale has a bright, citrusy flavor that comes from
additions of tropical passion fruit. The flavor is tart, complex and
earthy from the passion fruit character.
|Lava Man Red Ale (available only in HI on draft)
Lavaman Red Ale is a malty, red ale with strong caramel notes and a
subtle chocolate malt flavor. The pronounced maltiness is balanced by
the delicate blend of Pacific Northwest hops resulting in a smooth,
|Castaway IPA (available only in HI on draft)
A full-bodied, American-Style I.P.A. that is bronze in color,
Castaway IPA is "dry hopped" (aged with liberal amounts of whole hop
flowers after fermentation) for assertive hop flavor and aroma. The
bitterness is balanced by the malty body of the beer.
|Hula Hefeweizen (available only in HI on draft)
Hula Hefeweizen is a traditional Bavarian-style weissbier that is
medium to full bodied with a pronounced banana / herbal flavor and
aroma. This unique flavor profile is a result of the special type of
Kona Brewing Photo Album...
The awesome Kona grain silos welcome visitors to the brewery location
in Kona. As grain shipments often take up to six weeks to reach the
island by ship, these large storage silos are extremely valuable to the
Just outside the Kona brewery growlers of the Kona beers are available
to go. No where are the Kona beers more fresh and flavorful than at the
brewery on the Big Island.
The interior of the Kona brewpub is a cozy, friendly and casual locale
for savoring tasty island grinds (food) and brews.
James Vine is the chef at the busy Honolulu Kona brewpub location.
Each Kona brewpub houses a gift shop for t-shirt and glassware
Rich Tucciarone poses in the center of the Kona brewhouse. His beers
are incredibly popular throughout the islands - 100 kegs per month are
usually consumed at Duke's bar in Waikiki alone!
There's a backup for almost every piece of equipment and ingredient at
Kona, as it can take weeks for new materials to be shipped. Shipping
costs are the main reason that Kona now brews beers for the mainland at
Widmer (and soon at Redhook).
Rich shows off his oak barrels that are being used to age special beers
for the brewpubs. The barrel-aged Da Grind Buzz is a powerful
Imperial Stout made with Kona coffee from Cornwell Estate (see the
bottom of this page).
The brewpub's busy kitchen staff puts together fresh fish sandwiches
Multiple awards from the Great American Beer Festival and other
competitions adorn the walls above the Kona taps.
Patrons enjoy fresh, local cuisine and house-made beers on the patio of
the Kona brewpub.
Kona Brewing is very involved in the local community and sponsors many
outdoor events and festivals (such as the popular Kona Brewers Fest).
Cornwell Estate /
Hubbard & Sons Coffee Company
Suppliers of the 100% Pure Kona Coffee for Kona Brewing's Pipeline
The Cornwell Estate coffee farm is located on a
quiet 9.5 acre hill just a few miles from the Kona Brewery.
Dan Hubbard is co-owner of Hubbard Coffee / Cornwell Estate and
produces the fine Kona coffee beans used in Kona Brewing's rich and
roasty Pipeline Porter. Dan is shown above with one of his prized
Coffee beans must ferment too! This vat is filled with Hubbard's top
quality beans that are allowed to undergo a fermentation process for
2-3 days before drying and roasting. 100 pounds of raw coffee fruit
(cherry) ends up providing only 15 pounds of roasted beans.
Fresh, raw coffee beans must be pressed to release the small, interior
seeds that are used for roasting. Dan recommends that coffee drinkers
stick to lighter roasts that allow for more complex flavors and
original notes of the beans to come through. "Coffee is very complex,
with over 300 different flavor and aroma aspects. There are people who
have doctorates in coffee science," says Dan.
For more information regarding Dan's great Kona coffee or to order raw
beans for home roasting, contact...
Cornwell Estate / Hubbard
& Sons Coffee Company