Kona Brewing Company out of Hawaii has made it all over mainland USA and for good reason, they tend to brew good beers mixed with a touch of island flavor. A new limited release of theirs is the Island Colada Cream Ale which is brewed with, as you might have guessed, coconut and pineapple.
Island Colada pours a golden yellow, as if the sun exploded in your glass. It is bright, cheery, and welcomes you with a nice foamy, white head that stood almost three fingers at its height. It just looked delicious from the pour. The aroma is heavier on the coconut, as you would kind of expect since that tends to be more fragrant but the sweet notes of pineapple do poke through. If you close your eyes you can almost escape the doldrums of winter in the northeast. Almost.
The first sip offers coconut flavors forward, quickly followed by pineapple sweetness, before coconut comes back. There is a touch of malt and perhaps a touch of hops that snuck in as well with a little grassy and citrus flavor. The carbonation is on the medium side which is perfectly acceptable. The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of light or the lighter side of medium. There is a creaminess that really makes this beer pleasant given the flavors. There is a dry, hoppy finish at the end though.
Overall, Island Colada is a pretty fun beer. Getting this in winter in the northeast was a treat. I did buy a six pack and had the beer in a glass and out of the can. Pouring in the glass was a little tastier than the can but both were good. It is kind of like Hawaii in a can, pineapple, coconut, and a little grassy touch like a skirt on an island girl. I would drink this any time of the year although only a couple at a time. I don’t know if I would make this a session beer given the flavors. I’m a fan of a pina colada but I don’t think I could pound them. The same goes for this beer. Ultimately, this is a nice escape for a winter offering but I wouldn’t mind using this as a change of pace beer in the summer or having a couple at a ballgame.
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.
Kona Brewing Company was founded back in 1994 but it has really expanded in the last few years with their beer being distributed all over the United States. One of their best-selling beers is Big Wave, a golden ale and we will be giving it a quick review.
Kona Big Wave Golden Ale pours as you would expect, a golden straw color. It is clear and shows a fair amount of carbonation. There was a one-finger length head of light, white foam that dissipated fairly quickly. The aroma is pretty inviting with hints of pineapple and hops as well as teases of flowers and another fruit that might be papaya.
The first sip follows the nose a bit. There is a note of pineapple to give it that sweetness. There is a light cracker taste as well and following is a touch of hops. There is no fruit added so they did a great job of teasing flavors out of the hops and malts that they used. There is a slight hint of caramel at the back end which was pleasant. Despite not having a great head upon pouring it did lace the glass nicely as the beer drank.
The beer is light-bodied with a crisp, clean, refreshing finish. There is just enough hops to give a slightly dryer finish but it still manages to be crisp and refreshing.
Overall, this was a pretty refreshing beer. I would definitely have this again, preferably at a tiki bar in Hawaii with the sun setting over the Pacific. I did appreciate their use of hops to give the beer flavor without diluting it with juices or other additives. This would hit the spot on a hot summer day, or if you wanted to close your eyes and picture yourself on a beach while the snow is piling up out of your window. This is a beer you can drink all day long and at 4.4% ABV it will let you. Aloha in a bottle.