Kona Brewing Company from Hawaii has been around for a while now and have actually become a fairly large brewing company with a wide reach. They produce several year-round brews and some seasonal ones, like most breweries around the country. You can read past Kona reviews by clicking here. Up for review today is Kona Gold Cliff IPA.
Gold Cliff IPA pours a golden yellow which is a bit of a surprise for an IPA. Usually IPAs aren’t this clear and golden. It kind of looks like sunshine in a glass, similar to other Kona offerings. There wasn’t a large head but there was a nice, white, foamy head about a half-finger tall. It dissipated fairly quickly so maybe it was the glass I was using. The aroma was one of hops, pineapple, and cracker.
The first sip follows the nose. There is a mild hop flavor which is complimented by the pineapple sweetness that just teases itself without becoming overwhelming. Kona seems to have perfected this pineapple tease where you can just taste a hint but not have it dominate the beer. It does say it was brewed with pineapple but it feels like that is almost everything Kona brews and that is okay with me. There is some hops flavor towards the backend but for an IPA the hops are not as prominent as one would expect. They are there but they don’t have as much of a role as they do in your typical IPA.
The glass laced moderately as it drank. There was a little more lacing than I was expecting given the small head that formed. The flavor was consistent throughout the session and each sip had me craving another, just the way it was meant to be. The carbonation was about right for an IPA but also acceptable for a lager. This is more of a cross between lager and IPA than strictly an IPA.
Overall, this was very enjoyable. I went in expecting hops like you would with an IPA but instead I got a refreshing Kona version of an IPA where they still somehow managed to sneak in a hint of pineapple. This was a little hoppy, a little crisp, and a little sweet, and a lot of refreshing. Kona just makes good, fun beer. This is worth the try and it can be had anywhere and at any time you want to escape to a tropical island but at 7.2% ABV is does pack some punch. But it is still worth trying.