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What To Know About Hawaii’s Micro-Brewing Companies

Hawaii’s Breweries

Kona Brewing Company

As of the time of this writing, there are five micro-breweries to be found in the islands.  Probably the most well known of the lot is the Kona Brewing Company and their signature Longboard beer, located in Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island.  You can even find their beer at a few retailers on the mainland, as far away as North Carolina, actually.

If you’re looking for a break from all the beach activities, take an afternoon break and tour this small brewery located just a few blocks from Kailua Bay on Kuakini Highway.

Waimea Brewing Company

The status of the Waimea Brewing Company is somewhat nebulous at this time as it seems that they are potentially looking to relocate their operation from the grounds of Aston’s Waimea Plantation Cottages to Port Allen, Kauai.  Ownership has changed recently and reviews have been mixed.  So, if you have any information to share, it would be greatly appreciated and we’ll all be kept up to date.    Their biggest claim to fame is that they are the undisputed westernmost brewery in the US!

The Maui Brewing Company

The Maui Brewing Company in Lahaina, Maui, has been in operation since 2005.  (The MBC was previously known as Fish and Games Brewing.)  You can find limited distribution in nine western states: HI, CA, OR, WA, ID, CO, TX, AZ and NV.   You’ll find it tucked away in the Kahana Gateway Center on Honoapiilani Highway.  Once again, reviews are mixed on this pub/brewery for both service and food quality, buts it the only one on Maui.

Gordon Biersch

Located in the Aloha Tower Marketplace on the Honolulu Harbor, Gordon Biersch is Hawaii’s first brewpub.  They brew German beers in the German tradition, so if you’re looking for a “Hawaiian” touch like many of the other breweries serve, you’re in for a disappointment.  On the other hand, they do have an excellent reputation for a good beer.   What I found most interesting is that you can view their entire menu online and everything is priced…except for the beers!

Sam Choy’s Big Aloha Brewing Company

Finally, there’s Sam Choy’s Big Aloha Brewing Company located at his Honolulu restaurant at 580 N. Nimitz Hwy.  Monthly Brewer’s dinners are held in the private dining room to educate patrons on food and beer pairing.

Update: As of the summer of 2012, Aloha Brewing Company has moved out of Sam Choy’s and into their own space…next to Sam Choy’s!  That’s right, doubling their size, but staying close to home.  The food on their menu will come from Sam Choy’s kitchen; that’s how close they will remain. 

The Aloha Brewing Co., brewpub officially opened on June 20 with Aloha Beer’s fresh brews on tap: the Aloha Lager, Aloha Red, Aloha Dark, Aloha IPA, Aloha Blonde, Steam Ship Lager and Kiawe Honey Porter.

Hawaii Nui Brewing

Now, I have to admit, their story gets a little confusing.  Here’s the nuts and bolts of it as I can figure out.   Hawaii Nui Brewing, LLC,  is the parent company of Mehana Brewing.  Mehana Brewing has been operating in Hilo for four generations and became part of Hawaii Nui Brewing in 2009.  The biggest benefit to Mehana Brewing appears to be the increase in capacity that has come with this merger.

The brewery and tasting room are located at 275 E. Kawili Street and while you are invited to stop in to sample the beer, tours of the brewery need to be arranged in advance.  (Not sure which sign you’ll see on the building, Mehana or Hawaii Nui.) You can reach them at (808)934-8211.  To give you some idea of just how “local” this brewery is, they run a Monday Night Football Special…52 weeks a year!   You can refill their refillable “growler” (64 oz. bottle) for $8 for most ales or lagers or $9 for the Hapa Brown Ale and Hawaiian Crow Porter, all day Mondays.

So, there you have it!  The 5 micro-breweries and the Hawaii Nui Brewery of Hawaii.  So, you can find some local brews on Kauai (1), Maui (1), Oahu (2), and the Big Island (2).  Just remember, somebody has to volunteer to be the designated driver…in my group, that’s usually me.

Anyone remember “Primo”?

Decades ago, the first Hawaiian brewery opened in 1900 and the Honolulu Brewing and Malting Company brewed “Primo Beer” up until 1960.  The building was refurbished in 1996 with the intent of turning it into a retirement center, but an error in sealant material used on the wood floors left the building with a permanent stink which makes the building uninhabitable.  The building still stands at 533 Queen Street, but remains closed to the public.

So, if you’re up to the challenge of checking out Hawaii’s micro-breweries, it may take more time you might have imagined.


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  • […] got the rundown on the alcoholic manufacturing scene in Hawaii.  There are two wineries, five microbreweries and one  brewery, and two distilleries making rum, four distilleries making vodka, and one making Kona Coffee Liqueur operating (legally) in the state! Amazingly, each one of them produce award winning products.  Even as little as ten years ago, you […]

  • James Roze says:

    Thanks Randy I appreciate your good achievement! I just impressed To Know about Hawaii’s Micro-Brewing Companies profile. You know I didn’t know this information about these before today. So it’s very important allocation for me. Thanks for your kindness.

  • randy says:

    Hopefully, it will give you even more options for things to do and see on your next visit to Hawaii. Be sure to read my follow-up blog on the Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea, a micro-brewery that escaped my original post.

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