Kona Lemongrass Luau

I had this beer at my local bar while having a weekend lunch with Val. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 5%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Lemongrass Luau is a blonde ale brewed with wheat malt, ginger, and lemongrass. The earthiness of the hops complements the spicy flavor and aroma of the ginger and lemongrass, and what’s left is a crisp summer beer that makes you want to lie in a hammock and never leave. As the sun sets over the mighty Pacific Ocean, a beautiful Hawaiian luau celebration begins. In view of the bright blue waters of Kailua Bay, just steps from our Kona Brewery, tiki torches are lit and the mouthwatering scent of kalua pork rises from the imu pit oven as the ti leaves are removed. The swaying motion of hula dancers falls in perfect rhythm with the music, telling tales of the ancient gods. This is how Hawaiians celebrate life’s joyous events—a big beachside feast shared with friends and family, our ‘ohana.’ Even if you’re not at the beach, gather your ohana around a great meal, share this Kona brew, and have a luau of your own.”

Random: Some of the best meals I had as a child were in Hawaii.

The beer poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It went away quickly, leaving no lacing on the glass. The body was clear and bright orange with lots of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with wheat and lemongrass. After a few sniffs, I also picked up some ginger as well. The taste was very similar to the nose. It had a lot of grain and wheat and quickly transitioned into lemongrass with a touch of lemon. White tea and ginger came through next, but the overwhelming flavor was the lemongrass. The body was on the light side with high carbonation. The finish was quick with lemongrass. Conceptually, this beer had a lot of promise, it just needed the flavors in better balance.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale

This was the second beer that I had. It had been on my list of beers to try for at least two years. I think I read a decent review of it in a beer book and wanted to give it a shot. I haven’t been impressed by many of the Kona beers that I’ve tasted, but hopefully this one changes it for me.


ABV: 6%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Fire Rock Pale Ale is 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 amount of hops added to each brew.’

Random: I’m almost finished with the backlog from vacation which means I can start cracking some new beers open.

This beer poured with a one finger, ecru colored head. It dissipated quickly and left little lacing on the pint glass (which is branded with the restaurant’s name and logo). The body was a clear mahogany color with surprisingly little carbonation visible. The nose was more malt dominant than I expected. I got caramel and toffee malt. There was also some mandarin oranges and grapefruit as well. The taste was also really malty, but it came through as more bready than caramel or toffee, although they were present as well. Grapefruit and some grass came through with moderate bitterness. It had a thick body with light carbonation. It really needed a bit more carbonation. It had a quick finish with slightly-sweet caramel malt.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Kona Castaway IPA

On the last night of vacation, the other half and I ended up at a Hawaiian restaurant across the street from our hotel in Dewey Beach. The food was awful and the waitresses were wearing shorts that were so short that they looked to be incredibly uncomfortable. This was the first beer that I had there.


ABV: 6%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Take a sip of this copper-colored India Pale Ale and you’ll taste bold, citrusy hops with a touch of tropical mango and passion fruit, balanced by the rich caramel malts. Castaway IPA has a clean, crisp finish that’s as refreshing as the wind in your face when you set sale for adventure.”

Random: We’ve been having a House Hunters marathon today. It’s interesting to see what some people consider deal breakers.

This beer poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It left some light lacing on the pint glass which was quite dirty, especially for a restaurant. The body was a clear amber color with very mild carbonation visible. The nose was fragrant with pine and grapefruit. So far, I was really excited to try it. As soon as I took a sip, I was disappointed. The taste was not nearly as good as the nose. There was some grapefruit pith and then caramel malt. I also picked up some spruce tips as well. Each flavor was very disjointed and transitioned abruptly. It had a medium thick body and needed more carbonation. It had a quick finish with grapefruit. To me, this beer was pretty boring. If someone is just starting to dabble in IPAs, this wouldn’t be a bad one to try.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale

I’m done with snow. It’s March, did we really need to see snow yesterday? When I was driving down to Manalapan, they were salting the roads and there was about an inch of snow on the ground. The forecasters are also saying that we’re going to get more snow this week. Anyways, to get my mind off the weather, Kate bought me a sixer of this brew.

ABV: 4.4%

Style: American Blonde Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our brewers wanted to make a beer that went down easy after a day out on the water. Big Wave Golden Ale is just the ticket. Big Wave is a lighter bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor – a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and our special blend of hops provides bright quenching finish.”

Random: I’ve been to Hawaii three times with my family and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to go back. One of the favorite things that I’ve done there was biking down a dormant volcano in Maui.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the pint glass. A slight crown was left on top of the body. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with light carbonation visible throughout. The nose was lemon and grassy hops with some honey sweetness thrown in for good measure. The taste was much less bitter than nose. The taste was mild with sweet malt, wheat, peach, biscuit and pineapple. The body was on the heavier side of the style, but needed a bit more carbonation. The finish was quick with fruity sweetness. This was an alright brew for me, definitely drinkable, but needed a bit more on the nose and a big dose of carbonation.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Kona Longboard Island Lager

This was another remnant that I had from a party that I just threw into the crisper to taste. When I had it the first time, I thought it was pretty good. I was also decently buzzed, so that could have something to do with it. I’m interested to see how I like the brew now that I was trying it sober.

ABV: 4.6%

Style: American Pale Lager

Trivia: According to the Kona Brewing website, “Longboard Island Lager is a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged for five weeks at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor. A delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma complements the malty body of this beer.”

Random: I’ve been to Hawaii three times and I really love it, although I wouldn’t rush back to the island of Oahu.

The brew poured with a barely there white head that dissipated quickly. The body was a clear straw yellow color with significant carbonation. There is really not much of a nose. Maybe a hint of malt? Some mild caramel? I think I’m fishing. It’s really muted. The taste is pretty smooth with some moderate carbonation and a tiny hint of nuttiness. The hops (although very mild) come in on the end and linger through the finish. There aren’t any real overwhelming flavors. The only flavor is just a hint of sweetness. You could call this an easy drinker, but there just isn’t anything impressive about this beer except its low ABV, so you can session it. I wouldn’t rush back to have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0