Considering a trip to Hawaii? OurBrewCrew.com touched down there recently to bring you a handpicked list of locations on Oahu and the Big Island to enjoy a good brew and meet some great people. Click through this month’s BeerTour below to read more about each bar!
Da Big Kahuna: Waikiki bar with a neighborhood feel
Located in the lobby of the Aqua Waikiki Wave on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, Da Big Kahuna is a refreshing change of pace from the overcrowded bars on nearby Kalakaua Avenue.
With a staff that’s welcoming to both returning regulars and first-time guests, the large bar and restaurant offers a neighborhood bar atmosphere where old friends catch up and new friendships are fast formed.
Da Big Kahuna features entertainment for many tastes: nightly live entertainment from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., karaoke on Mondays and Wednesdays, and a DJ mixing Thursday through Sunday nights. We had the pleasure of personally meeting many members of the staff, and they were an amazing bunch: bar manager Tiffany and bartenders Brandy, Kelly, Jazmine, and Brittany made us feel right at home. (We sat down with Brittany to discuss what sets Da Big Kahuna apart from other area watering holes, and her bartending career.)
Be sure to check out the $3.00 beer specials – Kahuna rotates beers depending on the day – and the fishbowl, a fruity cocktail fit for four.
Food-wise, Brittany recommends the Big Kahuna burger, an angus beef burger topped with bacon, ham, pineapple, and cheddar cheese. For local fare, try the Loco Moco, which consists of hamburger patties or pulled pork topped with fried egg and white rice, then smothered in gravy.
Mood: Cheers at the bar, showtime in the dining room
Da Big Kahuna is located near Waikiki beach at 2299 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Liquid Aloha on the Big Island: Kona Brewery and Pub
Headquartered in the beautiful coastal town of Kailua-Kona, Kona Brewing Company has been brewing Liquid Aloha since 1995.
On the day of our tour, we arrived at appointed time on an unusually rainy mid-March day, and checked in at “The Growler Shack.” Everyone in our grouped received a gift, safety glasses and an information sheet, and the tour proceeded.
Our first stop was at the two large grain silos near the entrance — they house all the grain utilized in the brewing process. We then moved on to the main brewery, where we learned that Kona is operating on a 25-barrel system.
After leaving the main brewery, we entered the refrigeration area, where we learned that the beers produced here are specifically for distribution throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including several varieties that are exclusive to the Islands and cannot be found on the mainland. In 2010 Kona Brewing joined the Craft Brew Alliance, enabling them to increase production and enter new markets through partnerships with both Widmere Brothers Brewing of Portland, Oregon and Redhook Ale Brewery of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Non-island exclusive Kona beers are currently available in all fifty states and 15 countries. Hawaii-brewed Kona beers are only served on tap: due to the lack of a glass plant in the State of Hawaii and the lack of a canning facility at the brewery, all cans and bottles sold throughout the mainland and the Hawaiian Islands are brewed and packaged in Portland.
After completion of the brewery tour our group entered the restaurant and proceeded to the rear of the outside dining area for everyone’s favorite part: the tasting. All participants ages 21 and over (with valid ID!) were invited to partake of four 4oz. beer samples chosen by their tour guide, giving them an opportunity to learn more about some of the specific offerings, and to get to know the other tour participants. Although the tour is only 45 minutes in duration, we’d say it was well worth the 11-hour flight from the East Coast.
To make matters even better, the pub located at the brewery is a 4-star certified green restaurant, the highest environmental certification available. Some of its energy saving-initiatives include solar tube lighting in the brewery, their use of 53,000 gallons of recaptured water per year, and roof-mounted solar panels that account for approximately 60% of their total electricity needs. Spent grains from the brewing process are used in the production of pizza dough and breads for the restaurant, or picked up by local farmers for cattle feeding. Additionally, all table scraps from the restaurant are sent to local pig farmers as feed.
Kona Pub & Brewery is located on the Big Island at 74-5612 Pawai Place, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Opened in April of 2014, Honolulu Beerworks is fast approaching its first anniversary. The craft brewery is located in the up-and-coming community of Kaka’ako, and sits perfectly located for all: the business crowd from downtown Honolulu, people enjoying a leisurely day at the beach in Waikiki or Ala Moana Beach Park, or those taking a break from shopping at world famous Ala Moana Shopping Center. With its expansive open-air setting, community style bench seating, and relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect respite after a long day of work or play.
With twelve locally handcrafted beers on tap, Honolulu Beerworks offers beers for nearly every taste, from the light and refreshing Kewalos Cream Ale (5.5% ABV) to the perfect-for-the-islands Pia Mahi’ai Honey Citrus Saison (5.7% ABV), the ever-popular Sheltered Bay IPA (6.9% ABV), or the intense Maunalua Bay Double IPA (8.9% ABV) with its deceptive 100 IBUs. After enjoying a pint, why not try some of the delicious food offerings, such as the Beermade Mac & Cheese or the Philadelphia-inspired South Street Pastrami Reuben.
The staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more welcoming to everyone who walked through the door. Megan the bartender was extremely knowledgeable about all of the beer offerings, and happy to answer our many questions about the different styles and inspirations behind them. Owner and brewer Geoff Seideman was nice enough to take time away from his preparations for the 2015 Kona Brewer’s Festival to give us an impromptu tour of the facility, sharing his passion for both the brewery and his beloved Philadelphia Eagles.
Even with all of the fun they have creating and brewing new and unique beers, Honolulu Beerworks is continuously focused on the community that has both supported and embraced them. The wall decor features art for sale by local artists (the brewery was showing art by Stephanie Thibaudeau of HawaiianStyleArt.com when we visited). And in the Spirit Aloha, Honolulu Beerworks also donates the proceeds from particular beers to charity. For instance, proceeds from the sale of the Pia Paka Ua, an American-style wheat beer made from local banana, Ulu pineapple, starfruit, beets, and guava, benefit the Pauahi Foundation, which works to provide for the educational needs of people of Hawaiian ancestry.
Honolulu Beerworks is located at 328 Cooke Street, Honolulu, Hawaii
If you’re staying on Oahu, looking to try some authentic Hawaiian beers, but don’t have time to hop a plane to the Big Island, you’re in luck. Kona Brewing Company has a second pub location located twenty minutes east of Waikiki.
This Kona location sits on the waterfront at the Koko Marina Center, affording you a beautiful view of the water with a mountainous backdrop to boot. We recommend stopping here for a bite to eat after a day of snorkeling at the world-famous Haunama Bay. And since the marina wraps around the pub, you can also make a day out of it by booking with them to enjoy some of their menu of water-based activities.
Open since 2003, this Kona location offers 24 beers on tap, featuring locally brewed beers that are only available on the Hawaiian islands. If you’re a beer connoisseur (or pretending to be – we won’t judge!), this is a must-stop location for notching your belt with a few limited-edition beers.
Bonus for the wired among us: every seat at the bar comes with an outlet for charging your devices. Glorious.
Beer to try. Seriously, we’d recommend the beer flight. Our personal favorite: Coco Brown Ale
Kona Koko Marina is located on Oahu at 7192 Kalaniana’ole Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96825
We were on the hunt for a great spot to kick back and chill at Kailua Bay on the Big Island when one place nearly commanded us to come on in. The place is named…wait for it…Chill’n On the Bay. Check out our OBC profile here
Chill’n On the Bay is a great spot for a midday break from the beach (that was us!) or to unwind after a long day of exploring the Big Island. Located on famous Ali’I Drive in downtown Kailua-Kona, Chill’n On the Bay offered us all the necessary elements of chill: live music from local artists, delicious tropical drinks for the cocktail lover in our crew, ice cold beer for those of us who know better, and amazing Eisenberg Chicago-style gourmet hotdogs.
OurBrewCrew.com spent an hour hanging out with owners Mick and Casey and awesome bartender Sandhya, and they only deepend our conviction that this should be a Crew-certified bar. Chill’n On the Bay offers open-air seating, a full bar, an extensive food menu and beautiful views of Kailua Bay. If you’re looking for a great place to take in the beautiful Kona sunset, you’ll find one here. Unlike other places where you might have to fight and crane to see the sun as it inches closer to the horizon, this one offers a clear shot from wherever you’re seated.
Beers to try: Volcano Red Ale
Chill’n On the Bay is located at 75-5699 Alii Drive, Kailua Kona, HI