Tuesday is normally the day when new albums or DVD’s are released. But two days ago, I was at a beer release party.
The occasion was Kona Brewing’s latest creation in their Aloha series. Amidst the surf photography of Bo Bridges, I got to taste my first Hawaiian pupu and taste a new island brew by the name of Koko Brown ale before it starts flowing through tap lines.
And if that was not enough, Mattson Davis, president of Kona Brewing was there to talk about the origins and ingredients of the beer and about Kona Brewing itself.
But back to the star of the show, Koko. It is brewed with toasted coconut from the island, which is added in both the mash tun and the whirlpool to make a brown ale that has a strong aroma and flavor of coconut. The Aloha series of beers are all made with something an ingredient that is part of the Hawaiian landscape. From the Kona coffee that is grown near Mattson’s house for their Pipeline porter to the passion fruit in Wailua Wheat. Unfortunately, you will not be seeing macadamia nuts in future brews because it is just too hard to get that flavor to pop in a beer. Koko will start pouring around the Los Angeles area February 21st.
Also on hand was the Longboard lager, which is a really good example of a lighter beer that is excellent on hot February days. It is great fun to chase after the new in the craft beer world but there is comfort in returning to past favorites too. All of the Kona beers that I have had recently do not hold back on the flavor without getting into that region of cloying or too sweet.
(Pau Hana is the time after work when you gather with friends and enjoy life)
The craft Beer of the Week is actually two beers! First is Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, AKA “OG”. According to Stone Brewing it is the “über malty, super hoppy mega beer that you know and love (and apparently depend on for your sanity and continued wellbeing)..” The second brew is the OG “spiked” with a Belgian yeast strain. It is part of the Odd Beers for Odd Years program. Try both, side by side (with friends, these beers are not to be trifled with) or save both in your cellar.
Your Homework this week is to volunteer to drive someone to LAX airport. Sounds like something you would normally dread doing but in nearby El Segundo at the Whole Foods on Sepulveda is a little beer bar tucked into the back of the grocery store. You can get your organic veggies and have some beer too. Remember the power of the money in your pocket. The more you spend on places that have good beer; the more places will sell good beer.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.