Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The 5 Best Hawaiian Beers for Potable Paradise

As big and diverse as our nation is, there’s nothing quite like Hawaii. The Rainbow State touts tropical weather, unmatched geology, mouthwatering beaches, incredible National Parks, and a culture completely its own.

The islands are also home to a surprisingly strong craft beer scene. No, Hawaiians are not harvesting local hops for production like we do on the west coast of the mainland, but locals are taking advantage of select indigenous ingredients and throwing them in tasty batches of brew — things like coconut, passion fruit, hibiscus, pikake flowers, and more. 

Unfortunately, being part of a small enough production scale, a lot of the most interesting beers stay in Hawaii because it really doesn’t make sense for them to cross the Pacific. Yet, as the relatively young scene grows, more and more Hawaiian-made options will likely land on the mainland.

More Beer Guides

From large outfits like Kona Brewing, with production facilities both in Hawaii and in the lower 48, to small operations like Beer Lab or Lanikai Brewing, the Hawaiian beer story is a promising one. Here are the five best Hawaiian beers we strongly suggest that you can almost surely find in your own zip code. 

Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA

Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s not the happiest IPA nor the most unique, but it’s surely one of the most balanced. Maui Brewing Company’s popular IPA is easy on the palate. It’s one of the relatively few options within the genre that won’t overwhelm on a scorching hot day, probably because Hawaiians need thirst-quenching qualities in addition to a dose of hops after a day in the sun. The dry-hopped beer has a nice tropical quality with a slight sizzle of citrus.

Take a look at our list of the best IPA beers to drink right now for more options like this.

Kona Brewing Hibiscus Brut IPA

Kona Brewing Hibiscus Brut IPA
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While staple beers like Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale are plenty refreshing and available in most stores, Kona has a more creative side depending on the season. One of the label’s newest creations is arguably its best — the Hibiscus Brut IPA. Deceptively big at 8% ABV, this beer is salmon in color, brewed with a tasty dose of hibiscus and grape-y Nelson Sauvin Hallertau Blanc hops. It’s a nice mix of the cleanness that comes with a good brut IPA plus just the right amount of bitterness and that floral, tea-like kick only hibiscus can offer. 

Hilo Brewing Company Mauna Kea Pale Ale

Hilo Brewing Company Mauna Kea Pale Ale
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Most of Hilo Brewing Company’s work stays in the archipelago, but a few beers occasionally make it to the mainland. The label’s pale ale is delicious, having won a few awards with its focused flavors and squeaky clean build. It’s the perfect antidote to spicy food and what you should be reaching for after an afternoon spent riding waves or biking through town.

Maui Brewing Imperial Coconut Porter

Maui Brewing Imperial Coconut Porter
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Another fine option from Maui Brewing, this beer is the heavier sibling of its popular standard coconut porter. It’s as smooth as molasses, with nicely integrated flavors of coconut, baking chocolate, malt, and a hint of toffee. Try it with your favorite mole dish or by itself as a post-meal dessert in a glass that will whisk you away to the land of volcanoes and surf. A bigger beer through and through, it’s more suited for evenings and nightcaps than daytime refreshment.

Ola Brew Tangelo Milkshake IPA

Best Hawaiian Beers

While you can’t yet get it on the mainland, this beer is still worth a mention and should give you one more enticement to visit Hawaii (as if you didn’t have enough reasons to begin with). Look to sample it in-house or on the beach by way of growler next time you’re on the Big Island. It’s like a piña colada masquerading as an IPA.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
Blue Moon beer has one of the weirdest (and best) Dry January promos we’ve ever seen
Buy some Blue Moon beer, get a discount code on Blue Moon beer - easy!
Blue Moon

Blue Moon is a big name in the beer world. It’s been one of the most well-known wheat beers since its inception in 1995. It’s such a household name that it’s the kind of beer that probably wouldn’t see much of a dip in sales even if it never advertised again. But that’s not necessarily the case for its new non-alcoholic Belgian-white ale. And since drinkers might not be completely aware of this alcohol-free offering, the brand launched one of the weirdest and best dry January promotions ever.

If you’re unaware of dry January, it’s a time when many people attempt to “dry out” from the recent holiday season. There’s a good chance that due to all the social gatherings and parties, many drinkers had a few too many beers, glasses of champagne, and boozy cocktails. While it’s a great idea for many drinkers health-wise and as a way to start a new year on the right foot, like many resolutions, about halfway through the month, beer starts to look more and more appealing. Luckily, the folks at Blue Moon figured out a way to help you fight your urge to sip alcohol-filled frosty brews.

Read more
The 8 best non-alcoholic beer options for Dry January
A toast to taking time off from alcohol for the month with the best NA beers

Whether it’s for health reasons, a change of pace, or you tied one on a little too tightly during the holiday season, there’s a chance you’ve decided to join countless others for Dry January. For those unaware, this means this month will be spent without imbibing any alcohol. This means no cocktails, no wine, and absolutely no beer. Well, no beer with alcohol in it, at least.

Dry January doesn’t mean you’ll be completely parched all month because no beer hits your lips. Due to a rise in sober consumers and drinkers who enjoy taking time off from booze, there are countless non-alcoholic beers on the market. Gone are the days of mass-produced, fizzy water NA beers.

Read more
The 5 best Champagne options under $50 for your New Year’s celebration
Champagne doesn't have to be expensive
Champagne coups

We love our festive cocktails and bottles of beautiful reds this time of year. Please give us all the hot toddies and spiked eggnog concoctions. And there's truly nothing like a tall, frosty beer after a long day on the mountain. But when it comes time for that ball to drop on New Year's Eve, the festivities just aren't complete without a glass or two of Champagne. This beautiful bubbly beverage is celebratory in its very essence and, therefore, simply must be enjoyed on the most celebrated night of the year. Unfortunately, though, those bubbles tend to come with a pretty price tag, particularly if one is set on enjoying true Champagne and not another variety of (often more affordable) sparkling wine.

One of the reasons our favorite fizzy drink tends to be a bit pricier is because Champagne can only be classified as such if it comes from the Champagne region in northern France. If your bubbles come from another region - or a different country altogether - it is considered sparkling wine, not Champagne. This region itself is quite small compared to other wine regions, and is made of soil that is infamously difficult to work. Creating a bottle of deliciously pure and bubbly, perfect Champagne is a true labor of love, and that love comes at a cost.

Read more