Feb 22, 2017

Kona Hanalei Island IPA

Kona just announced the nation-wide availability of their new year-round beer, Hanalei Island IPA, just last month. First released in August of 2015, the 4.5% ABV IPA was brewed as an homage to the island of Kauai and POG juice, a blend of passionfruit, orange and guava. The concept is to provide a fruit forward example of the style with just the right amount of hop bitterness and traditional IPA traits with a “Hawaiian twist.”

The problem here, however, is that the particular samples I received were packaged back in October of last year. There hasn’t been a tremendous amount of time since then, but just enough time has passed to cause those desired fruit flavors to fade a bit. The nose is fairly subtle as gentle tropical fruit notes linger with grain, cereal and a touch of honey. The flavor carries stronger notes of fruit, but even then probably not as much as a more fresh bottle of Hanalei Island IPA. Grapefruit, soft pine notes, a lemony zing, citrus and lightly toasted grain are all present as the light-bodied beer washes gently over the palate. The hop bite, at 40 IBU, is surprisingly more sharp than anticipated, peaking quickly and fading lightly to a satisfying finish.

Hanalei Island IPA, at least the bottles I sampled, weren’t overly fruit-forward, but still carries a decent bit of fruit flavor accompanied by a welcome hop bite and balance. The light bodied beer is refreshing and at a humble level of alcohol goes down pretty easily — an ideal combination for enjoying a couple during a long hot Summer afternoon.

This is a review of a promotional sample.