Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Put a porter in your pipe(line)... and drink it!

Kona Brewing Company is situated on Hawaii's Big Island. You've probably seen some of their "liquid aloha" at your local liquor store. The beers they ship off the island are: Long Board Island Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale, Big Wave Golden Ale, Wailua Wheat and Pipeline Porter.

After doing some research I discovered that Kona has five other beers that they only serve on tap in Hawaii. To be honest, these sound more appealing to me... not that their exported bottled beers aren't good (because they are), but the draft beers sound more appealing to me personally. Tap only beers include Black Sand Porter, Duke's Blonde Ale, Lavaman Red Ale, Castaway IPA, and what would likely be my fave of the bunch -- Hula Hefeweizen. I've never been to Hawaii... I wonder if I can wrangle a beer writing trip out of this? ;)

Recently I was sent samples of Pipeline Porter and a bag of the world famous 100% Kona coffee (grown at the Cornwell Estate Plantation) that Kona Brewing uses in that porter. This was a very interesting taste test. Fran and I are big morning coffee drinkers, and just like beer -- I don't have one favorite that I drink all the time -- we like to sample a variety of different coffees. After having the Kona coffee from Cornwell (which we've never had before) it's easy to see why it's world famous.

Full disclosure: I've had Pipeline Porter before. In fact, I still have a bottle or two in my fridge from last winter. That's not a slight against Pipeline, I have other beers from last winter in there as well... remember, I'm a seasonal beer drinker.

However, this time was different. Sipping the freshly brewed Kona coffee for a few mornings prior to imbibing the beer that those same beans are used in totally changed the taste of the beer. I was able to discern the coffee nuances much more this time around.

Kona's PR description of Pipeline goes something like this: "... smooth and dark, with an earthy complexity from its blend of premium malted barley. The malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee... a delicate blend of hops rounds out the palate-pleasing brew and the infusion of coffee gives Pipeline Porter a unique roasted aroma and flavor."

Can't argue with that. As you know I don't delve into deep, analytical, superfluous, adjective-laden reviews. I leave that to SMRT people. For me it's good or it's not to my liking. Pipeline Porter is damn good. And I'll be drinking more of it as summer gives way to fall which gives way to winter. The islanders may be sucking this down on on the North Shore of Oahu after a long day of hanging ten... I'll be sucking it down after shoveling a foot of snow off my damn driveway!



Rob said...

Having been to the Kona brewpub on the Big Island, I can attest to having enjoyed the smaller batch offerings much more than their bottled brethren. But to be clear, they don't ship those bottles to the mainland, they're actually brewed and bottled here on both coasts.

Dave said...

I've visited Hawaii 11 years ago but don't know if they had any of those brews available at that time. It's a real paradise if you get away from the busy touristy areas. Maui and Kauai are great! I've yet to try a Kona brew but would welcome it anytime.