Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brew Review: Big Swell IPA

Big Swell IPA (Maui Brewing Co.)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 4.0
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor: 3.5
Texture: 3.5
Drinkability: 3.5

Overall score: 18.0 / 20.0

Cost: $2, 12 oz. can, Liquor Collection.
On the label: See photos.
Summary: I am not a fan of pale ales. Not a hater, but my preference is for malts, porters and stouts. Yet, this brew blew me away. It looks amber, but the flavor is one of a kind. Not sour, not bitter, but definitely strong and smooth. No weird aftertaste. It's a flavor that I can't identify, and it won me over. Quite a kick at first with the carbonation, and it goes down smooth, with just a bit of fizzle.

On the whole, these three brews from Maui Brewing Co. are outstanding, distinct and wonderful. I was not a believer in canned beer until this week. Everything MBC said about cans and what they do today (as opposed to the stereotype of the past) is true. They work. They keep the brews very fresh. And though they are recyclable, I'm saving my as souvenirs.

Can't wait until MBC turns out more of their award-winning brews for me to taste.

Reviewed on Sept. 19, 2007.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brew Review: Coconut Porter

Coconut Porter (Maui Brewing Co.)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 4.0
Aroma: 4.0
Flavor: 4.0
Texture: 3.5
Drinkability: 4.0

Overall score: 19.5 / 20.0

Cost: $2, 12 oz. can, Liquor Collection.
On the label: See below.
Summary: Careful on the open. The can had been moving around, from the fridge to my living room, then sat for a good 5 minutes. Still, when I pulled the tab, a good explosion let out a tablespoon or two. Rather combustible, right? The aroma of coffee, not coconut, is what permeated the room. And with my first sip from the mug, it was sweet, rich and tasted completely like coffee. Is the coconut mixed with coffee? According to MBC's website, where they show step-by-step photos of the process, there is no coffee. Whatever the case, it's an aromatic, rich flavor with a good amount of kick. I really could have scored this a 20 out of 20. It almost tastes as if it belongs in a coffee cake or some sort of coffee pastry, or it could be an ingredient in a coffee glaze or syrup to go over ice cream.

This brew needs no complementary dish. It's rich enough by itself. This brew has won an award in the World Beer competition, and I understand why.

Reviewed on Sept. 17, 2007.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mystery solved

Well, OK, not a mystery. I just started wondering whether Waialua Soda Works bottled its onolicious sodas here or on the mainland. The notion occurred to me because I'd learned that Kona Brewing Co. bottles its product in California. Yuck!

So, I sent an e-mail to WSW, but while I visited their site for the first time, I found all the info I needed. Jason and Kathy Campbell, who started the company in 2004, do everything from scratch to finish right there in Waialua. Awesome, indeed.

Star-Bulletin: Newlyweds bet the farm on pineapple soda made in Hawaii

I've already reviewed the Root Beer. Exquisite. The Pineapple is good. I've yet to review that one or the Mango (still in the fridge). And then there's the Vanilla Cream. Love the local products.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brew Review: Bikini Blonde Lager

The search for more locally-made (Hawaii) brews slowed recently until I made a long-anticipated visit to Liquor Collection in Ward Warehouse. I found beers made by Maui Brewing Co. there. Never heard of MBC, and the fact that they can their brews was a bit perplexing. Nevertheless, they had an attractive boxed pack, a la Samuel Adams' "Mix Pack" of three different beers. I decided to save a few bucks and buy singles of MBC's brews. Mahalo to Jay of Liquor Collection for his astute recommendation.

Bikini Blonde Lager (Maui Brewing Co.)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 3.5
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor: 3.0
Texture: 3.5
Drinkability: 3.5

Overall score: 17.0 / 20.0

Cost: $2, Liquor Collection, 12 oz. can.
On the label:
Summary: I was repelled at the thought of a canned beer, but the manager at Liquor Collection assured me that the freshness of the brew was only the best. He was right. Out of the can, there is no weird, funky aftertaste. BBL is simply a strong lager with a nice fizz and kick, which then goes down smoothly and leaves the palate rather neutral until the next sip. This went well with spaghetti. It would also go great with chips and salsa. Mexican food. Korean food. Anything spicy.

MBC has brewed many different beverages, but only three are on the market: Bikini Blonde Lager, Big Swell IPA and Coconut Porter. I'll try the latter two in the coming week.

See more at Maui Brewing Co.

Reviewed on Sept. 16, 2007.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sunnyside (Wahiawa)

The perfect place to write a baseball game story. Mahimahi plate. Mahi was tender, flaky, ono. If you ask, they give veggies instead of mac. Pupulemeter: 3 1/2 stars.

Sunnyside offers up tasty local food at cheap prices. They also make $6.75 pies that often sell out before lunch. Located next to Fred Wright Park on Kilani Ave. in Wahiawa. A must see. The friendly service was a plus. Closes 4 p.m. on Saturdays, so get there early.

Don't blink. You'll miss Sunnyside.

1017 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI, 96786
(808) 621-7188

Monday, September 10, 2007

Brew Review: Rogue American Amber Ale

American Amber Ale (Rogue Brewery, Oregon)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 4.0
Aroma: 4.0
Flavor: 3.5
Texture: 4.0
Drinkability: 3.5

Overall score: 19.0 / 20.0

Cost: $5.49, Foodland. 1 pt, 6 oz.
On the label:
Summary: Like no other brew I've ever had. I expected a lighter ale, but that was because I didn't read the label carefully. A beautiful reddish brown (amber) tone, clear and rich at the same time. The flavor was onolicious (great), but what really piqued my attention was the aftertaste of something I couldn't recognize. Neither fruity nor nutty. I'll look this up on the Rogue site later, but for now, I'm just gonna enjoy this beautiful beer in all its malty, perky beauty.

Reviewed on Sept. 11, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Brew Review: Coors

Yes, I had to celebrate the start of the NFL season yesterday with a tall can of Coor's, which I had not sipped in years. At least a decade, maybe two. I always preferred Coors over Budweiser, but not over Miller Lite or Miller Genuine Draft. That's not saying a whole lot, though, since I gave up on mass-produced domestic brews long ago. But I will say that Coors still has that sharp bite, though not as funky an aftertaste as Bud (formaldehyde).

Coors (USA)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 3.0
Aroma: 3.0
Flavor: 2.5
Texture: 2.5
Drinkability: 3.0

Overall score: 14.0 / 20.0

Cost: $2.49 (big can).
On the label: NFL KICKOFF.
Summary: Coors ice cold goes great with Buffalo Wings flavor Doritos. Hail to the new NFL season and all three of my fantasy teams!

Reviewed on Sept. 10, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

Brew Review: Koshihikari Ichigo

Koshihikari Ichigo (Niigata, Japan)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 3.5. Pristine and golden.
Aroma: 3.0. Very lagerish.
Flavor: 3.0. Crisp and refreshing, especially with spicy food. Sort of like a Heineken. Aftertaste is reminiscent, though, of a Budweiser.
Texture: 3.5. Nice. Fizzly.
Drinkability: 3.0. Best on a hot day.

Overall score: 15.0 / 20.0

Cost: $3.
On the label:
Summary: I mistakenly thought this beer was from Okinawa. It's not. It's a nice brew to have on a warm day and/or with spicy food.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rainbow Drive In: Chili plate

Chili dog plate. I usually don't get the hot dog. The regular Chili plate has been my favorite at Rainbow's since 1981. $4.50, side of macaroni salad. Only time I like mac. Pupulemeter: 3 1/2 stars.

Brew Review: Mehana Volcano Red Ale

Mehana Volcano Red Ale (Hilo, Hawaii)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 4.0. Work of art.
Aroma: 3.5. Sweet and rich.
Flavor: 3.5. Smooth, nothing like the typical Hawaii favorites.
Texture: 4.0.
Drinkability: 4.0.

Overall score: 19.0 / 20.0

Cost: $3.
On the label:
Summary: Absolutely stunned by this brew from Hilo. My guess is that the brewery is more out of Hilo, toward the cooler elevations of Mountain View or Volcano, because this brew is a winner. Just the way I like a beer. Not sour, not tart, no funky aftertaste. Just smooth, rich and satisfying. I hate to say it, being a former Kona resident, but this is the best beer from the Big Island that I've had the pleasure to taste.

Reviewed April 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Brew Review: Waialua Root Beer

I have just tasted the finest root beer of my life. Better than A&W when they were next to Washington Intermediate School. Better than all my favorite root beers.

Waialua Soda Works sells their unique sodas at Star Market, so I picked up a trio of single bottles. I debated over which flavor to try first, but since I was having hot dogs for lunch, root beer was the right pic. It is unmatchable, still fizzing, bubbles still buoyant — yet calm — 5 minutes after I've taken the cap off. The taste is exquisite, a pure, natural product. Just a hint of vanilla coats the taste buds.

The followthrough is amazing. If you really love root beer, you will not only enjoy the taste, but the lingering, subtle and sweet chemistry of cane sugar, Maui white sugar and vanilla.

Waialua Root Beer (Waialua Soda Works, HI)
Appearance (0 to 4 stars): 4.0
Aroma: 4.0
Flavor: 4.0
Texture: 3.5
Drinkability: 4.0

Overall score: 19.5 / 20.0

Cost: $2. (I have to double check my receipt. Might have been a buck and change.)
On the label: "Waialua Soda Works ... finest Hawaiian quality ... Root Beer ... naturally flavored soda. Also some writing in Japanese.
Summary: The only reason this soda didn't have a perfect score is that I would've liked a smidge more carbonation, but it is perfect nonetheless, say my taste buds. Big surprise, huge future ahead for this product and Co.

Reviewed Sept. 4, 2007