Celebrating the 20th Kona Brewers Festival
Presented by the Kona Brewers Festival, Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel and Donkey Mill Art Center.
The rainy weather from earlier in the week faded away just in time for the ocean-side beer and food pairing under the stars. Kona Brewing Company beers were showcased and most of the dishes included craft brews.
The art and culture of Hawaii were featured through live entertainment and a silent art auction. Proceeds benefit nonprofit organizations working on behalf of children and the environment.
I was very impressed with my first Kona Brewing Company beer taste of the evening—a Kiluaea Crater Dampfbier. It was a pleasant surprise to have a Bavarian style “steam beer” in Hawaii!
My first pairing was a refreshing Lemongrass Luau blonde ale (5.8% ABV, 20 IBU) that went very well with a green salad, grilled hamakua mushroom poke, roasted baby beets, marinated cherry tomatoes, and black-eyed peas with Portuguese sausage.
I liked both the Lavaman Red Ale (5.6% ABV, 30 IBU) and the Aina Brown Ale (6% ABV, 29 IBU) with the beer-basted, smoked BBQ Baby Back Ribs and the Kalua Leg of Lamb Soft Tacos with Slaw, Pico de Gallo, Kona Avocado, Chipotle, Cumin and Honey dressing. The Aina Brown Ale is made with Kalo (the Hawaiian name for the Taro plant); finally, something with Taro in it that I like!
The Castaway IPA (6.0% ABV, 50 IBU) paired very well with the Casarecce and Rigatoni pasta dishes, and being an IPA it was a favorite of mine.
Three beers were served at the dessert table. The first I tasted was the Pipeline Porter (5.3% ABV, 23 IBU), followed by the Vanilla Thrilla Imperial Stout (8.8% ABV, 50 IBU), and a Raspberry Chocolate Porter made specially for the event, based on the Black Sand Porter (6.2%, 45 IBU) with organic raspberries and local cacao nibs added. The Pipeline Porter was interesting because it included freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee. I liked the Vanilla Thrilla Imperial Stout best and I enjoyed it as dessert!
|Let's hear it for the Kona Brewing Company folks that made it all possible!|
|Music Students Playing Like Pros|
Part of the Kona Brewers Festival is about blending brews and blues, well, maybe bluegrass anyway. The “Brews and Blues” concert at the luau grounds featured the Aloha Bluegrass and the Whipstitch Sallies.
The Aloha Bluegrass Band and played a mix of original and traditional songs and featured some very talented musicians: Rion Schmidt (banjo), Katy Rexford (fiddle), Justin Morris (bass & Dobro), Matt Del Olmo (guitar & bass), Keoki Kahumoku (ukulele & guitar). They were comfortable switching instruments (guitars, ukelele, bass and Dobro) and I particularly enjoyed listening to their last song featuring the Dobro. Watch their video here.
BREWS FOR THE BIG ROCK
The Kona Brewers Festival with 50+ Brewers!
The festival began after a Hawaiian blessing and a drum chant.
I hoisted my commemorative beer mug, checked my ten four-ounce brew tasting coupons (which is the equivalent volume of 3.3 twelve-ounce beers), and looked forward to an afternoon of unlimited gourmet food samples from the Big Island’s best restaurants, musical entertainment, and the world-famous Trash Fashion Show. The festival promotes recycling awareness and raises funds for local charitable organizations.
I focused on tasting beer from Hawaii, Oregon and California and managed to taste 21 brews. Somehow I missed a few Hawaiian beers, but I enjoyed all of those that I tried. Here's the list of beers I sampled:
Bear Republic Brewing Co - Apex, Seasonal IPA
Big Island Brewhaus - Hoptopias Imperial IPA
Breakside Brewery - Safe Word Triple IPA
Burnside Brewing Co - Other IPA
Eel River Brewing Co - Emerald Triangle IPA
Green Flash Brewing Co - Jibe Session IPA
Green Flash Brewing Co - Soul Style Single IPA
High Water Brewing Co - No Boundary IPA
Honolulu Beerworks - Surf Session IPA #4 Waimea
Kona Brewing Company - Aina Brown Ale
Kona Brewing Company - Dampf Bier
Lagunitas - IPA
Lanikai Brewing Co - 808 IPA (Imperial India Pale Ale)
Lompoc Brewing - Pamplemousse Citrus IPA
Maui Brewing Co - Lorenzini Blood Orange Double IPA
Mehana Brewing - Mauna Kea Pale Ale
Mission Brewery - Shipwrecked India Pale Ale
Stone Brewing Co - Stone Delicious IPA
Stone Brewing Co - Stone Ruination
Waikiki Brewing Co - Eee Pah IPA
Widmer Brothers Brewing - Upheaval IPA
Hawaiian beers that rated 4/5 or better.
Oregon beers that rated 4/5 or better.
Even though there were thousands of people at the festival, there were no long lines to find beer or food. It was thoroughly relaxing and totally enjoyable.
Rich Dirk, brewer/owner of Elk Head Brewing Company, spreading the Unfiltered craft brew message with friends.
This festival had plenty of delicious food!
The first sample I tasted was the Pork Belly Musubi from Chef Noah Hester at Blue Dragon.
50 Shades of Adobo by Broke Da Mouth Grindz & Catering was very creative.
Chef Ash Danao and the Rolls With It crew served Pork & Beef Sliders with Kalo Ketchup.
Hmmm, looks more like avocado than meat though.
They were good anyway! As were their avocado french fries.
BITE ME Fish Market & Grill serving Fish Tacos.
Chef Peter Abarcar, Jr from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel was doing something big with pulled pork tacos!
Tracy's Tasteeze Deli served some excellent Paniolo Corn Chowder! And I got to use my Spork (Spoon-Fork combo), but the spoon was more like a flat shovel. It worked anyway...
Jive Nene kept things rolling with their groove-centric, soul-istic, and funk-tastic sounds before the Trash Fashion Show.
TRASH FASHION SHOW
Late in the afternoon things got trashy and the crowd went wild!
It was all great fun, but I enjoyed the Brewers’ Pa’ina and Art Auction the most. It had the beer (without the little tickets on your wristband), food, and musical entertainment in a relaxed atmosphere. The Brewers Festival was a good way to experience the ten breweries from the islands and others from Oregon and California. I liked the brews from Hawaii, Oregon and California.
|Festival Organizers: Kate Jacobson, Mattson Davis, Cameron Healy|