Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dark Crystal Märzen & This One's For You Cassini - Honolulu Beerworks 9/20/2017

Dark Crystal Märzen
Untappd Oktoberfest Badge
Oktoberfest time is the most wonderful time of the beer year! There is nothing more delicious to me than a märzen, and it's always special when local breweries get in on the fun!  Oktoberfest formally kicked off this past weekend in Germany, so many places had their party. Luckily for us, there are more happening around Honolulu in the next few weeks! I missed Honolulu Beerworks' party, but got to try their märzen and it didn't disappoint! (For those keeping score at home, usage of "Oktoberfest" for a beer style is equivalent of "champagne," for the wine, it has to be made in the Champagne region, for the beer, it has to be an approved variety brewed in Munich. Märzen is the proper term for that style outside of Bavaria.)

Untappd Imperial Czar Badge
This One's For You Cassini
While stopping in, I also got to try the This One's For You Cassini, a Russian Imperial Stout dedicated to the memory and hard work the Cassini probe has been doing around Saturn for more than a decade. It's an excellent beer, well worth the commemoration.

I ordered their fantastic Reuben. In a bit of serendipity, I realized the sandwich paired perfectly with both beers: the sandwich style and saurkraut with the German märzen, and Russian dressing with the Russian Imperial Stout! For Untappd lovers out there, I finally got the Imperial Czar badge and leveled up on the Oktoberfest. Prost!
Smokey aroma, dark amber color, clean dark flavor, notes of roasted malt.
Dark as space, malty aroma, initial bitterness, hints of roasted coffee, very mild, I enjoy this.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ehu Ale - Aloha Beer Company

Instagram can be a great tool. Today I was going through the local breweries and saw the post from Aloha Beer Company about the re-release of their Ehu Ale. Ehu Ale was first brewed in 1996 by Dave Campbell at his Oahu Homebrew Supply store.  From the brewery: "digging through old files, we found the original handwritten notes for the first 1/2 barrel batch of Ehu."  It was previously served at Big Aloha Brewery and the former Aloha Beer Company for over 16 years before disappearing. Today is the first it's available again, and I'm glad it is.

When it comes to history, and beer history in particular, there's an added draw to get me out and try it. Like an extinct species returning. "Ehu is named for the beautiful reddish-orange hue of this American Amber style of beer. This easy drinking ale is 5% ABV and has 31 IBUs. It features smooth caramel notes with a touch of roastiness, and is balanced by East Kent Goldings hop that lend an earthy spiciness to the finish."  Be sure to go grab a glass today!

Shout out to Kaiao Archer, brewer at Aloha; it's great to meet the people who create what you love! And thanks to Dave for the IG story and resurrecting recipes!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lanikai Brewing Company's New Brewpub! - Kailua, HI

Just a few short years ago, Kailua got its first locally made beer in the form of Lanikai Brewing Company. Their beer is quality stuff and quickly made its way around the island, both on tap, and a few year-round bottle selections.  Limited brews appear in both bottles and countless small batch varieties on tap only in their small taproom.  With great excitement, Lanikai announced the opening of their second location right down the street. A dedicated bar and tasting room, Lanikai Brewing Company now has the space to serve a larger amount of customers at a time, which is also perfect to make everyone feel more comfortable.

The new location is literally just a few hundred feet from the brewery along Hamakua Drive. Parking
is limited, but they do have several dedicated stalls as well as being a short walk from the shopping center lot. Kailua is also filled with bikes and easily walkable.  

It's an awesome start and there's lots of potential here.  On entry, you'll see nice light walls and lots of seating space. All the wood is koa and was done by a local artisan. It's a gorgeous surface on which to drink. The tables are large and would be perfect for board games. They have high top tables, a bar, and booths. They have a very well done half-barrel shelving swag shop with all the t-shirts, hats, growlers, and glasses.

The main reason you're here is for the beer! Lanikai offers a large rotating selection of beers including beers from other breweries. For their opening weekend, they offered four new beers on top of their three main ones (Moku Imperial IPA, Pillbox Porter, and Route 70 Saison).  The menu was done digitally, which made it easy to read.  They have a new supply of glasses, with different ones for the various sizes. They're all delicate and a huge step up from plastic tasters.  If you like to try new beers, it's best to get a sample size. You can order up to four 4oz tasters at a time. Each beer is a different price depending on rarity and ABV.  I love the physical bar itself also, hard wood with unfinished glass racks.

All in all, this is a fantastic expansion of Lanikai Brewing Company. There's only better to come. If you enjoy their beer, be sure to stop by soon and support the new place!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Square Barrels - First and Only Untappd Local Badge on O'ahu

Collaboration over Competition - That's the business mantra Square Barrels exudes in all they do.  We went into try two new beers from Big Island Brewhaus, one of my favorite breweries in the islands and one that is typically hard to find on draft. I ended up learning a lot about Square Barrels thanks to a slow evening and nice chat with one of the owners, Thomas Ray.

As an Untappd addict, I had been trying to get into Square Barrels again to unlock their Local Badge. For those uninitiated, Untappd is a beer collecting app that allows you to rate, check-in, and remember what you like. The badge feature rewards you for types of beers and venues visited. The third type are sponsored badges by breweries and events around the country. Recently Untappd added a Local Badge feature where bars, breweries, and restaurants can have their own badge that customers earn for checking in beers at their establishment. Square Barrels is the first and only venue on O'ahu that is taking advantage of this. As a customer, it means a lot to me to see the engagement into a small but growing community.

The Local Badge essentially functions as a rewards program. On first check-in, you receive level 1 that shows you all the details. For level 5, 10% off your bill; level 15 a T-shirt; level 25 a $25 gift card; and level 50 an unfilled growler! Each level of badge requires 5 separate beer check-ins, so for the highest level, that's 250 beer check-ins.  This encourages repeat business and building toward something.  I hope this program catches on more in Hawai'i!

Starshine Ginger Beer
Dark Sabbath
As far as Square Barrels goes, check Untappd for their menu and upcoming events. They always have a collaboration dinner or special release coming up! Also, if it's your first time, have their house beers!
Amber gold color, subtle ginger aroma, strong ginger taste yet mild in the aftertaste.
Brown red color, light lingering head, sweet Belgian aroma, strong slightly sickly sweet taste, quick change to Belgian bittersweet.

Pali Pils - Honolulu Beerworks 9/2/2017

There is nothing better than a heaping lunch of subs, sandwiches, salads, all with a side of beer. As much as I love Honolulu Beerworks' brews, their food is not something to be missed. The Italian hoagie, salmon salad sandwich, and countless food specials included baked mac & cheese, or braised pork, all hearken to the mainland, especially east coast. Some items have a local spin, but you're really in for a different experience with their food.

Despite being here to eat, I was excited for their Pali Pils. In the traditional German style, this beer is wonderful. With all the beer fads out there that lean away from real beer towards sours and fruit, it's a special treat to have a beer that tastes like it's supposed to. Beerworks really outdid themselves on this simple recipe, which is perfect getting into the Oktoberfest season.

Pali Pils -  Fantastic Pilsner, golden straw color, German style, earthy, clean, nice burning bite