Honolulu Beer Guide – Where to Find Your IPA in Paradise!
We’ve been exploring the craft beer scene in tropical paradises recently on The Wandering Gourmand with posts on Aruba and Cancun. Both vacation destinations show promise as they begin to serve beer beyond watered down island lager. But what about US tropical destinations like Honolulu?. I sat down with a friend of mine who recently moved back to the mainland to help write this Honolulu Beer Guide.
You can rest assured that Danno and McGarrett from Hawaii Five-O are sipping on craft beer after they lock up the bad guys…
Hawaiian Craft Breweries
Let’s start the Honolulu Beer Guide with local craft breweries. Kona Brewing claims the oldest craft brewery presence in Honolulu. Here’s the catch though. The brewery doesn’t actually brew on the island but owns a brewpub featuring its lineup of beers freshly delivered from the Big Island. It was a great start for Honolulu, though, serving fresh beer alongside pub fare classics all prepared with a Hawaiian twist. Guests can’t beat the location, either, at Koko Marina.
There have been several recent additions to the local craft beer scene. Honolulu Beer Works, owned by a local home brewer, has opened the floodgates to other craft breweries in Honolulu. Their brews run the gamut from farmhouse ales to hop bombs to dark and malty. Waikiki Brewing opened just last month offering a similar variety of beers with a jalapeño amber offering a unique option.
Stewbum and Stonewall Brewing is currently distributing around the island, and you can stop by the brewery on weekends for beer samples and growler fills (no pint sales). Lanikai Brewing completed a Kickstarter campaign. You can taste their beers around the island or in their tasting room. Be on the look out for some of their barrel aged products!
Craft Beer Bars and Restaurants
If you’re looking to sample beers from some of the other Hawaiian islands, or even enjoy some staples from home, I have you covered with my Honolulu Beer Guide. Whether you’re looking for something for Maui Brewing or Sierra Nevada Brewing, there are plenty of beer bars and restaurants happy to quench your craft beer thirst.
For the mainland beers, rest assured the much of the fear of skunked beer from shipping to warmer climates has been overcome. Over the past five years, many of the larger US craft breweries have begun to ship their products to Hawaii after forming partnerships with local distributors to ensure the proper care and refrigeration of their products.
A few beer pubs have opened to serve their ware. Real Gastropub is famous for its tap takeovers and bringing in specialty beers from the mainland. Sister restaurant, Brew’d Craftpub operates under a similar philosophy, with a little more of an open environment. Pint and Jigger boasts 21 taps and a craft cocktail menu. All three restaurants feature fresh pub fare with a Hawaiian flair.
Monkey Pod has a decent craft beer selection but their prices do fall on the high side. Stop by for happy hour to avoid breaking the bank. Tropics Taphouse also has a pretty wicked happy hour with $4 select craft beers and a nice neighborhood feel.
Go ahead and book your hotel in Honolulu and start exploring the craft beer scene!
What would you add to my Honolulu Beer Guide?