Kona Brewing Company

Official Web Page 
75-5629 Kuakini Highway Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Office: 808-334-1133; Pub: 808-334-2739; and fax 808-334-1884
Email: brewpub@KonaBrewingCo.com

Opened: 1994
Date Visited:

If I mention the word Kona, many will picture images of Hawaii, good coffee, and surfing. The only mention of Kona in the dictionary speaks of a strong southwesterly winter wind that also brings rain. To me, Kona signifies a fine range of handcrafted ales and lagers, brewed at the best brewery on the Hawaiian islands.

 For those not familiar, Kona is a district of Kailua, on the island of Oahu, which is also the location of Honolulu, and commonly referred to as “The Big Island”. Established in 1994, Kona Brewing Company was the first brewpub on the island, although Gordon Biersch has also since found a home there.

Beers Reviewed

(click on beer name for full review)
Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale Type: Pale Ale ABV: %
The pour is a deep golden-amber color, and a little lively needing some care. It’s fairly thick in body and somewhat hazy, which may be from the wheat. There’s a slight sign of carbonation, while the head holds fairly firm throughout. The aroma is sweet, a little caramel like but there’s also a nice subtle flowery hop in there too. On the palate this is a little thicker than I would have expected, but still light enough for easy and (although I shouldn’t say so) mass-consumption. There’s also a slight fizziness. The flavor is most notable for its sweetness; it runs over the palate pretty smoothly leaving a nice caramel, even slightly chocolaty taste. There’s some hop and bitterness in the middle that also creates a little crispness in the finish. The hop however is overshadowed somewhat by the malt in the aftertaste, which quickly mellows and settles into a sweet smoothness.
Ratings: Appearance: 4/5 Aroma: 7/10 Palate: 4/5 Taste: 8/10 Overall: 15/20 Score: 3.8


Kona Longboard Lager Type: Lager ABV: 5.5%
Longboard Lager pours to a pale apricot amber color. It’s pretty cloudy and I did read somewhere that there is wheat in the beer, something I have not seen confirmed elsewhere, while there’s a nice delicate white foam. At first glances this is a very intriguing and interesting lager, suggesting something along the lines of Anchor Steam.

The nose is virtually all malt, showing a mild passion-like fruitiness, while there is also a flowery hoppiness that comes through showing spicy notes.

This beer carries a nice firm palate, with a slight tingly carbonation but a wonderful smoothness. It also carries a little weight for a lager, somewhat medium in body.

There’s a predominant malty sweetness that defines the flavor of this brew. It has a nice fruity feel, probably best described as a mild peach with some underlying fresh crisp apple, and maybe a little hidden raspberry, but then maybe that’s just me trying to suggest too much. The fruity malt carries through very well into the aftertaste, while the back of the palate adds a nice delicate subtle dryness, and a slightly sour finish.
Ratings: Appearance: 4/5 Aroma: 8/10 Palate: 5/5 Taste: 7/10 Overall: 16/20 Score: 4.0


Kona Pacific Golden Ale Type: US Pale ABV: 5.0%
Hazy golden/brassy color, slight white foam that isn’t particularly enduring, very light signs of carbonation. Full malt nose, caramel smoothness, slightly sugary, hop aroma is mild with a slight spice and fruitiness. The palate is medium-bodied, a little on the light side for an ale with a tingling carbonation. A sweetness is the initial impression on the taste buds; it’s sugary, toffee-like and fruity, pretty full and well-defined, while there’s also a little graininess mid-palate. It does seem as though things are about to get a little too sweet when a surprising dryness hits the back of the palate. The dryness is pretty impressive in the finish, a little bitter, a little citric, but not overwhelmingly so. The sweetness does linger a little biscuity into the aftertaste, while there’s also a slight reminder of the dryness. Confusing, tries to go too far in separate directions. Drinkable and enjoyable, but not exceptional.
Ratings: Appearance: 2/5 Aroma: 8/10 Palate: 3/5 Taste: 6/10  Overall: 11/20 Score: 3.0

Last Updated: 08/20/2001

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