Dec 20, 2012

Kona Brewing Elderfire Golden Ale Cocktail

Last week, I received a promotional package — actually, one of the cooler promotional packages that has shown up at my doorstep — from Kona Brewing. The woven box was mysterious at first, but upon inspection it turned out to be the fixings for a beer cocktail the brewery calls Elderfire Golden Ale (including Bombay Saphire gin, St. Germaine liqueur and a bottle of the brewery’s Big Wave Golden Ale). Here’s the promo as I tweeted it upon arrival:

Now, I’m not what I would call a mixed drink or cocktail or what-have-you drinker. The most I ever put in my liquor is a splash of water or an ice cube in my glass of single barrel bourbon. Beyond that, I tend to stay away from that realm of the alcohol rainbow. That all said, I’m also not so horribly stuck in my ways that I’m not willing to give something at least one shot. The Kona Elderfire got two shots.

At first I followed the recipe to the letter and all I could tast was the cloying sweetness of the St. Germaine. There was only a hint of the gin and no beer, except for the gentle fizz of carbonation. As expected, I did not like it — not one bit. So, I figured, if the first take didn’t have enough beer let’s double its presence in the glass.

I filled up a shaker pint with the remaining 2/3 of the Big Wave and the remaining single shot of both the gin and St. Germaine. The result was only mildly better as the beer took on a more dominant role, but the sweetness of the St. Germaine still persisted. In the end, my stance on cocktails and especially beer cocktails was confirmed. I’m not a fan. You can probably stop reading now, but if you’re still interested in the gory details (ie, my tasting notes) they are below.


The beery concoction sits a pale straw yellow with no head.


There is plenty of the St. Germaine wafting off the top of the sample glass. Hints of gin and really distant malts are also present. It certainly smells like a strong cocktail.


Overall, the flavor isn’t unpleasing, but it’s not great. It reminds me of liquid cold medecine that I took last year. It’s crazy sweet, medicinal with a good deal of honey, subtle malt and hint of the gin. The light level of carbonation from the beer gives it a gentle fizz. I did not finish either attempt at the cocktail.


I’m willing to try anything at least once. This particular beer cocktail just isn’t my thing. I can see how fans of sweet mixed drinks may go for it, but it’s just too medicinal and cloying for my own personal liking. I appreciate the package that Kona sent me, but in the end, I wish I had just enjoyed the Big Wave Golden Ale on it’s own.

Rating: N/A

This is a review of a promotional sample from the brewery.