It hardly seems like Hawaii could be a part of the United States without its own brewing company. The most popular brewery is the Kona Brewing Company on the Big Island. With its year-round beers including Longboard Island Lager, Firerock Pale Ale, and Big Wave Golden Ale, the brewery sells mostly within the Islands, though its year-round beers can be found elsewhere.
Kona Brewing Company also produces three seasonal "Aloha Series" beers that include Koko Brown Ale, Wailua Wheat, and Pipeline Porter.
Along with their selection of five "Island Only" beers, connoisseurs will have plenty to taste and may need an extra visit or two to the Brewery!
Tours of the brewery can be booked from 10:30am to 3pm daily.
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Kona Brewers Festival—Beer Bash on the Big Rock
The gecko is the "aumakua" or symbolic protector of Kona Brewing on the Big Island and the little lizard serves them well. This year marks the 18th annual Kona Brewers Festival, always held the first weekend in March. The lizard delivers with over 70 beers in addition to chefs contributing pupus from more than 30 kitchens. This is always a sell-out and you need to get your tickets early, book your flight and your room and polish up the beer goggles.
Come for the beer, stay for the party. The King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel luau grounds in Kailua-Kona are transformed into at tropical brewpub. I love the beers assembled mid-ocean, but the food keeps bringing me back. Tropical, local, exotic but most importantly delicious. The main stage has great local and international music acts all day long. There's usually something goofy like a recycled material fashion show to promote sustainability and the environment. This event has raised over a half million dollars over the years for local NGOs and charities. While you can get a little loopy with the pounding sun, driving dance floor beats and beer flow, a room at the KK makes the walk home traffic-free.
Plenty of other chances to punch the fun ticket avail with a brewing contest, a 10K run, golf tourney and related activities around town including a banquet with special food/beer pairings. This is a community event that opens its heart to the beer geek willing to shell out $60 to show support. All for a great cause.
Not only does the Kona Brewing Company offer a plethora of beers to taste, the Pub offers a great selection of food that is locally sourced and organic when possible.
Sandwiches, pizza, and salads—the Pub serves great food to pair with your favorite beer. Prices range from $8 for pupus (appetizers) to $15 for lunch which is pretty good pricing for a Hawaii restaurant. Ask about their pizza slice and side salad special for a great deal on a perfect lunch sized portion of flavorful island food. And finish your meal with a purple slice of Haupia Sweet Potato Pie!