This week’s entry into the Hyperion Papers beer review series is courtesy of The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival booth’s very own Kona Brewing Co. in the form of their Castaway India Pale Ale. But first, a little bit about the brewery itself.
The Kona Brewing Co. was established in 1994, but has been a subsidiary of the infamous Craft Brew Alliance since 2010. I call it ‘infamous’ because the publicly traded Craft Brew Alliance is a collection of formerly independent companies (Kona, Widmer Brothers, and Redhook) that can only just be considered true craft breweries due to the fact that they more or less still operate independently under their evil overlord, AB-InBev (that’s Anheuser Busch, for those of you not familiar with the shorthand). Yup, Budweiser owns 32% of Kona, et al.
The Craft Brew Alliance straddles ever-so-precariously upon the edge of the cliff between craft brewer innovation and the abyss of big three-sponsored fake microbrews. I could rant about faux craft entries into an already crowded market forever, but this should be about the beer, so I’ll move it along. I just would like to make it known that it’s very possible for Disney to find real craft breweries with enough output to support their needs without sucking on the teat of a company that is trying to stifle independent competition with every move they make. That is all.
So, this Kona IPA is surprisingly good. It’s heavier on the bitterness than I expected, and it finishes very clean without leaving your mouth too dry. The aroma is very hoppy and carries a lot of citrus and pine. The appearance is slightly cloudy and in the glass it harbors a lot of carbonation, so there’s a decent head on this when properly poured. As a festival beer, I wouldn’t order more than a six ounce pour. It’s a little high in alcohol content if you’re marathoning around the showcase booths, and too heavy to pound if you really have a hankerin’ for another beverage at an adjacent booth. I would like to see the Hawaii booth move on to a different offering in the coming years, but Kona is a fine stopgap for the time being.
Melissa’s one-line indifferent-to-beer review: grassy and tropical fruit.