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Molokai Final Report

March 16, 2010

Sadly our vacation is over. We survived the tsunami, and are back home in Seattle.  I guess it is time to write the final post on our trip to Molokai.  After elaborating about Day1 and Day2, I decided to spare you the boring details of the remainder of our trip and just hit the highlights.

Molokai is a very beautiful island that has a very low key, and laid back attitude.  There are no stoplights, no traffic jams, no buildings more than three stories high, no fancy restaurants, no breweries, one hotel, one gas station, two bars, and the people were friendly. If this interests you, then you should visit.

Waving goodbye - by DraughtE, 2010The few tourist activities, other than the beach, were very expensive. Because of this, we only choose to do one, a whale watching boat trip.  For those that don’t know, every year between November and April an estimated 15,000 Humpback Whales visit the waters of the Hawaiian Islands to mate and give birth.  The majority of these whales are in the channel between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai.  To quote our tour guide last year in Maui, “it is whale soup out there”.  It’s nearly impossible to be on one of these islands (during this time period) and not see whales from the shore.  To really enjoy it though, you need to get on a boat and go out to them.  On this adventure, we found a pod of four to five whales including a mother and her calf.  We puttered around for about 2 hours with them, to the point where we were actually a part of their group, and they were following us.  At one point, a whale came right up on the stern of the boat, about 15 feet behind us, surfaced for a breath and sprayed us with its exhale. Yucky, but cool.  When they were bored with us, one of them gave us a whale tail wave goodbye and they took off.  This was by far the highlight of the trip.

Condo view - by DraughtE, 2010

The rest of the trip was spent driving around the island and hanging out at the beach. It was was fairly relaxing. Our condo, Wavecrest A-214, was very nice, and I would recommend it for anyone looking to rent a condo on the island.  It had all the comforts of home, and an amazing ocean front view with Maui and Lanai in the distance.

What about beer?  As I mentioned earlier there were only two bars on the island.  One is located in the Molokai Hotel, which was open air, beach front, and had a wonderful view of the water.  Their food was OK, but there service was lacking. (Other than the bartender, Jeremy, who waited on use during out first visit) They had two beers on tap, with Kona Brewing Longboard Lager being the only craft beer.  If you haven’t had a Longboard, it is well balanced lager, with a slight honey flavor that tastes great in the hot sun.

The second bar was the Paddlers Inn, a nice restaurant/bar that had a large outdoor covered patio area.  Of the two, this one had much better food and service.  Lush C had a great Ahi Poke, and I had very scrumptious Kalua Pork Sliders. Unfortunately, at the time, their beer selection was small.  On tap they only had Heineken, Primo Lager and PBR, and in the bottle they only had macro beers. We went with the Primo Lager, a Hawaiian beer, which is a simple premium lager that is so common in warm climates.  It was light, crisp, slightly malty, slightly hoppy, and didn’t have a cheap beer taste, it is very drinkable.

the line up by DraughtE, 2010

We found the only place on the island to find good beer was Molokai Wine’n Spirits in Kaunakakai.  It was the only store on the island that had any sort of craft brew selection.  Other stores maybe had one or two good beers to select from, usually either Kona or Sierra Nevada.  Wine’n Spirits on the other hand carried all the Hawaiian breweries (Kona, Mehana, Hawai’i Nui, and Maui Brewing) and a decent selection from the mainland including Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Rogue, and Deschutes.  They even had a few bottle of Deschutes Abyss which can be hard to come by.  On day 2, we purchased an embarrassingly large selection for the week from the Hawaiian Breweries.  Maui Brewing Companies Coconut Porter was our favorite.  Lush C really liked their Big Swell IPA too.  Here is more on the beer we drank:

Hawai’i Nui Sunset Amber (Hilo, HI)
On the Bottle: All Natural Small -Batch Brewed. Distinctive. Exotic. Satisfying.

Color- copper
Head- off-white, thin
Flavor – malt an hop
Finish – smooth well balanced hop an malt flavor.

DraughtE’s Take: It is very drinkable.  A little more malt and little less hops than a pale ale, just what it is supposed to be. Not really distinctive or exotic but it is satisfying.
Lush C’s Take: I concur, tastes great and is the only reason to bother going Island Brews at the Honolulu airport where it is on draught, which is far superior to the bottle.

Mahana Volcano Red in the breeze - by DraughtE, 2010

Mehana –Volcano Red (Hilo, HI)

Color – red
Aroma- sweet roasted malt
Body- Medium
Flavor – pleasant roasted malt flavor
Finish– hop and sour metallic – probably been in the bottle to long

DraughtE’s Take: I remember having this beer last year at the brewery and in bottles, and liking it. Up until the finish I liked it this time too. I’m sure this was just an old bottle.
LushC’s Take: Thought it was fine and that I was over reacting.

Big Swell - by Lush C, 2010

Maui Brewing CompanyBig Swell IPA (Lahaina, HI)
Big, Hoppy, Bold, Smooth and Hoppy.  Did we mention hoppy?

Color: Golden orange
Head: Thin white
Aroma:  Floral and Piney Hops
Body: Full Bodied and well carbonated
Taste: Sweet and hoppy
Finish: floral and piney

DraughtE’s Take: I liked it but thought it was a little too piney at the end.
Lush C’s Take: Liked it a lot. She thought it was a hoppy, full bodied, heavy IPA, that had the sweetness of a double IPA, but the hops at the end keep it from being overwhelming.  Ranks in her all time top 5 IPAs.

a cold Blonde on the rocks - by Lush C, 2010

Maui Brewing Company –Bikini Blonde Lager (Lahaina, HI)
What The Sailors Really Come To Shore For…

On the Can: Bikini Blonde is a fresh Handcrafted Helles Lager Brewed with the finest German Hops and Barley. Not Skimpy on flavor…. Bold, Smooth and Refreshing!

Color – Golden
Aroma- malt and hops
Body- light bodied crisp
Flavor -nice subtle malt, more than the average lager
Finish – smooth, well balanced

DraughtE’s Take: A nice session beer at 4.5%.  More flavor than ordinary lagers.
Lush C’s Take: A great way to finish off a refreshing swim in the ocean.

Coco for Coconut Porter - by Lush C, 2010

Maui Brewing CompanyCoconut Porter (Lahaina, HI)
… like hot chicks on the beach
On the Can : Coconut porter is a fresh handcrafted robust porter brewed with 6 varieties of malted barley, hops, and hand-toasted coconut.

Color- dark brown
Head- tan
Aroma- chocolate, coconut
Body- Full Bodied
Flavor – robust dark chocolate, coconut and a hint of banana in the beginning
Finish- coconut, a little sweet, but not to sweet.

DraughtE’s Take: This beer is one of my all time favorites. I couldn’t wait to get back to Hawaii to try it again.  It tastes like a dark chocolate mounds bar. Mmm Mmm good. If you don’t believe me check out the Seattle Beer News review.
LushC’s Take: “makes me think of classic 70’s Hawaiian Tropic sun tan lotion. Heady and sweet with a sexy coconut flavor.”  (She likes it) (I don’t like it, I dig it man-Lush C)

This trip solidified that Lush C is a huge fan of Maui Brewing (So am I).  We both really like their brewpub on Maui which we visited on many occasions last year.  We considered taking the ferry over to Maui for the day to visit, but couldn’t get the times (not to mention price) to work out.   If you are on Maui it is a must visit.  We are hoping to talk Full Throttle Bottles into ordering the Coconut Porter and IPA for us.  Keep your fingers crossed.

If you got to Molokai, you will need to rent a car,  if not a Jeep.  I’d recommend renting a condo, or something with a kitchen so you can prepare your own meals.  Unless you really want to do nothing, three nights should suffice, possibly as an add on trip to Maui or another island.  If you are looking for a beer culture, this is not the place. (we knew that going in). Would we go back to Molokai? Probably not, there are just too many places we have not been, but don’t let us stop you.

Cheers,

DraughtE

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