Kona Brewing Tour; A Must on the Big Island
KONA BREWING COMPANY, KONA, HAWAII
Imbibing the local beer is an important part of my adventure while traveling and I first became familiar with Kona Longboard Lager in 2000 while in Honolulu for the summer. Now eager learn about the company and taste more of their beer, I put this a the top of my list. If you love craft brew or beer in general, then Kona Brewing Company is a must while visiting the big island
With a full bar, inside dining and outside patio, this restaurant is very busy so be prepared to spend a few hours here (and to wait to be seated for at least 30 minutes). They do offer a fresh fish of the day available in a variety of ways and have a lot of appetizers to share including nachos, which are delicious!
I ordered the beer flight sampler with 5 choices of beer to taste. My favorites were Lemongrass Luau made with real local ginger and lemongrass and the earthy Kua Bay IPA which I downed quickly to make the last tour of the day.
The tours gather outside The Growler Shack and are a fun way to learn about Kona Brewing Company and all their beers. They are surprisingly on $5 per person, which in total takes about and hour including the walk and talk and the beer tasting at the end.
Our tour guide was well spoken and cheerful and I was happy to learn what an eco-conscious company they are. They have reached the highest level of Green Certification by being aware of the ways they can reduce their impact in all aspects of business. The roof is solar offsetting 60% of the energy use, the restaurant chairs are recycled and they save food scraps from the plates and kitchen for a nearby pig farm.
What I also learned is that they partnered with Craft Brew Alliance to brew to bottle their beer on the mainland for easy distribution. The island is just too small and expensive to house that operation but they are opening a new facility down the street in Kona that will be able to produce cans for local distribution, which are even better for the environment.
What started out as a pub in 1998 by two Portland folks is now sold in 36 countries! Overall, I'm super impressed with what they've built, from their quality beer, to their friendly staff and of course, their commitment to being a sustainable business.