Crave – food & drink
I generally like my beer on the darker side of the spectrum. West Coast style red ales are my all-time favorite. I also like a hoppy brown ale or a roasty porter.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill, the world’s westernmost brewery, serves a spectrum of beer, from light to dark. I sampled 6 of the 10 house beers.
- Leilani Light is a light golden ale, brewed with a touch of crystal malt and lightly hopped for a mellow character. For a light beer, it has a sophisticated taste with a rich flavor. 4.3% ABV (alcohol by volume), 27 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).
- Na Pali Pale Ale is a generously dry hopped American pale ale. The flavor is hop dominant, with a bitter, clean finish. It’s not quite heading into IPA territory but it’s approaching the border. This is one of the best pale ales I’ve ever had! Really. This beer is most definitely growler-worthy! 5.4% ABV, 54 IBUs.
- Pakala Porter is a full-bodied porter with a rich chocolate, roasted flavor. It’s named after an aggressive surf break. Kauai Island Brewery says, “this beer is not for the light-hearted beer drinker, but is a sure delight for any dark beer fan.” I can agree with that. This porter is the color of a moonless night. It has a velvety soft mouthfeel. The smooth, mildly bitter roasted flavor reminds me of my trip to Kauai Coffee and the delicious Poipu Estate Espresso Roast I sampled there. 4.9% ABV, 29 IBUs.
- Cane Fire Red has a malty character provided by a blend of Crystal malts, balanced by assorted fresh hops. I found this red ale to be lighter in flavor and color than San Diego red ales like Railslide Red or Sharkbite Red. It looked and tasted more like an amber ale to me—perhaps because it’s a bit maltier than the hoppy reds I typically drink. 5.8% ABV, 62 IBUs.
- South Pacific Brown has a mild roasted character that’s enhanced with a hint of smoked malt. Funnily enough, although the brown ale is only 42 IBUs compared to 62 for the red ale, I thought it tasted more bitter due to its roasted flavor. The brown ale’s color is also a deeper red hue than the Cane Fire Red. So, although the South Pacific Brown isn’t technically a red ale, I enjoyed it as if it was. 4.8% ABV, 42 IBUs.
- Captain Cook’s IPA was created as tribute to the hoppy ales brewed in the 1700s for the lengthy journey from England to Hawaii. Kauai Island Brewery says IPAs are their favorite beer style and this is evident in this beer, which boasts 15 pounds of hops for 155 gallons of beer. It has a delicious nose and opens with flavors of piney, citrus hops. The hop flavors then evolve on the palate and linger. This beer is a hefty 80 IBUs and you can taste each and every unit of bitterness. It’s just like putting a fresh hop cone in your mouth. My buddy, an IPA aficionado, was going to take a growler of this to go but the keg ran dry while we were there. At least we got to try it! 6.2% ABV, 80 IBUs.
- 6 oz. sampler $2.25
- 16 oz. pint of house beer $5.25
- 64 oz. growler $22; refills $16
- During happy hour from 3:30-5:30 p.m., house draughts are $4.
The pub-fare menu includes pupus, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, fresh fish and entrees. We sampled the daily special of 3 Ahi Tacos & Fries for $14.95. We also tried the Parmesan Crusted Calamari Strips for $10.95, which included a half-pound of panko-breaded calamari, lightly seasoned, and served with a furikake ranch sauce (tastes like a blend of ranch dressing and wasabi). Light, crispy, delicious!
The facility has high ceilings for an airy feel, and a wooden bar, tables and chairs for a more earthy feel. In addition to house and guest beers, the full bar serves wine, mixed drinks and cocktails. There are 5 flat screen HDTVs to watch games. The brewpub also has an array of logo t-shirts on the wall; I took home a longsleeve navy blue shirt.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill is located in the Port Allen Marina Center at 4350 Waialo Rd. in Port Allen, Hawaii. It’s open 7 days a week from 11 a.m.
As the westernmost brewery, it’s the “last beer before tomorrow.” No matter which way you’re headed, this brewpub is definitely worth a stop!
Note: Kauai Chocolate Company is across the street at 4341 Waialo Rd. The Peanut Butter Brick is so big and rich, it can take a couple days to eat.