Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Big Island Beer

I just got back from the Big Island of Hawaii. I was pleasantly surprised with the local beer scene and never lacked for good beer. My favorite was anything from Kona Brewing Company. We went there first for lunch and were so impressed that we came back for dinner a few days later. Not only was the beer great, but the food was up there with the best we had on the island.

I had already bought a six pack of their Fire Rock Pale Ale so for lunch I got a sampler that included Lilikoi Wheat Ale, Hula Hefeweizen, Castaway IPA, and Black Sand Porter. My favorite of these was the Porter but they were all decent beers. The Wheat Ale contained passion fruit which gave an interesting flavor that mellowed after a few drinks. The Hefe was a typical German Hefeweizen and the IPA was good but could have handled a little more hops.

When I came back for dinner the waitress mentioned that they had a dry stout on tap as well as an ESB. I had the stout first and it reminded me of one of my homebrewed porters but a little more stouty. So, needless to say, I enjoyed the stout and actually had another after the ESB. The ESB was a good example of the style and I can say that I liked every beer they made that I tried.

The other Big Island beer that I had was from Mehana Brewing Company in Hilo. I only had their Humpback Blue Beer which is a Kolsch style that they say is brewed milder with more carbonation for local tastes. The beer was good but not as good as anything I tried from Kona Brewing and I wish I would have tried more from Mehana but being on the Kona side, most of the restaurants and bars only had Kona beer.

The only place I couldn't find local beer was at the Luau we went to in Waikoloa. They served the usual American Light Lagers with Heineken and Amstel. The Luau organizers should get with the local breweries and serve some of their beer. Or, even better, the Breweries should start organizing there own Luaus.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First Post - A brief history of my beer life

This is my very first post in my very first Blog. I have been an active homebrewer since 1991 and an avid beer drinker since I was able to drink. Like most people, I started drinking the mainstream Bud/Coors/Miller stuff and my purchases were based on whatever was the cheapest at the time. If it was $9.99 a case then it was our favorite beer. (Now I drink single bottles that are sometimes double that price.)

I then branched out to imported German lagers like Beck's. The first non-blond beer I ever drank was Beck's Dark. Not long after that I discovered English Ales and that led to Belgian Ales and then the American Craftbrewing industry started to come alive and I was in heaven. I remember trying to plan business trips around great beer cities like Denver where I used to go once a year for a software conference. Wynkoop in Denver was my very first Brewpub visit.

I started homebrewing because I liked the idea of making beer to my tastes and at the time I lived in Virginia Beach, VA and the beer scene was almost non-existent. The first beer I made was a pale ale that came with the starter equipment kit I bought at a wholesale club. I still have and occasionally use the equipment that came with that kit. My latest beer in the fermenter is a Flanders Sour Red style using an ale yeast/wild yeast blend cultured from Roeselare, Belgium. I like sour beers. The barrels pictured under the links are in Rodenbach Brewery in Roeselare, Belgium.

That's my start into beerdom. I have since traveled to Europe and many places in the US mainly for beer. My wife always wonders how I can just happen to find a brewpub or a brewery to tour when we are on vacation. She doesn't see the hours of planning I put in so I can "accidentally" luck in to a great beer place.