By Patrick Gary, Contributor
After more than a year of waiting, Kona Brewing Co. has finally rolled its tribute to Kauai out to the U.S. mainland. Hanalei Island IPA is a smooth, sessionable IPA with mild fruity notes that come from the POG (passionfruit, orange and guava) mash. For those who have not traveled to Hawaii, POG is omnipresent on the islands but practically unheard of once you leave.
[Disclosure: Kona Brewing provided a complimentary sample of Hanalei IPA to Swine & Swill. These opinions are the writer’s own.]
The POG is there to balance the bitterness from the Millennium, Azacca and Galaxy hops, making this extremely smooth and approachable. This is no shandy, however: The fruit is there as a counterbalance, not as a primary flavor. That said, though it is listed as an IPA, it is really more of an American pale ale. Clocking in around 40 IBUs, it is at the very bottom of what can pass as an American or British IPA, well short of the more standard 50-60 IBUs.
Taken for what it is though, it is very enjoyable. Hanalei Island IPA is named after the historic town of Hanalei and world-famous Hanalei Bay, a magnificent, crescent-shaped bay tucked against waterfall-laden verdant mountains. This beer is similarly balanced and simultaneously exotic and familiar. This would be lovely with seafood or grilled pork. Definitely recommended.
Alcohol by volume: 4.5%
Malt: Pale 2 Row, c-120
Hops: Millennium, Azacca, Galaxy
Adjuncts: Passionfruit juice, orange juice, guava puree (POG)