Febrewary: Wailua Wheat


Brewer: Kona Brewing Company
Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Type: American Pale Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.4%

Today was a reminiscing day, denizens. It’s been like a heat wave the past two days, with temperatures reaching into the mid-50s both days. After nearly two solid weeks of temperatures barely getting out of the single digits and sometimes going into negative numbers? Plus, snow sometimes every other day? I felt like breaking out the sunscreen and the flip-flops.

Instead, I put on the hoodie I bought in Kauai last April and enjoyed the fact that I only had to put on my winter coat to go outside, and not the two coats, two scarves, two sets of gloves, and knit cap that I’ve been wearing every other time I dared to venture outdoors. And this evening, when I finished my workout and came upstairs for dinner? I brought with me this little beauty from my beer fridge.

I wrote about Kona Brewing Company once before, in my review of their KoKo Brown for Darktober. As I said, though, this month wouldn’t be all about dark beers (mostly, but not completely). In my Darktober review, I mentioned a few of Kona’s other beers that I liked. I hadn’t had this particular brew at the time. If I had, I definitely would have raved about it as well.

With a clean layer of foam, white as the caps of cresting waves, and a color as golden as the glow of sunlight starting yet another glorious Maui morning, this beer is nothing like what I expected to enjoy. But dark beers aren’t really par for the course in Hawaii (although they can be found…and they are delicious)…so when in Maui, go with what the locals like, eh?

Right off the bat, I guess I should confess that all my consternation about “fruity beers” is apparently a lie. I only dislike some fruit-flavored beers. Others, though? Others utterly astound me. So it was with Wailua Wheat, which carries with every sniff and every sip a beautiful passion fruit sweetness that is perfectly balanced and never overwhelms. This ale does have a bit of a thin mouth feel in contrast with the bold passion fruit bouquet, but this might also be my mouth balking at the foreign feel of a light beer.

Mingling wonderfully with the beer’s natural wheatiness, the passion fruit is what ultimately makes this beer both delicious and dangerous. You’ve no idea you’ve just downed an entire pint until you pick up your glass for another happy swig, only to discover that you’re staring at the coaster through the distorted emptiness of the glass bottom. It’s a good thing that this isn’t a high-ABV beer, because one could easily make it through an entire six-pack of this ale in one sitting and not even realize it.

Even a dark beer lover like me understands that every beer fan should have a few light go-tos. I would tag Wailua Wheat as a perfect summer afternoon sipper…even if it is the middle of winter and snow and more single-digit temperatures are in the 24-hour forecast. Actually, that’s all the more reason to drink this beer. Forget about the blah. Embrace the aloha.