There are two breweries on Kauai Island, Kauai Beer Company near the airport in Lihue, and Kauai Island Brewery and Grill, a sports bar on the South side of the island. Neither one bottles anything and both are in places the average tourist isn’t going to spend much time. I stopped by Kauai Beer Company when I landed because it is close to the airport and they were closed the day I flew out. I didn’t check if either of the breweries fill blank growlers but considering they both sell stainless steel growlers I would only recommend buying one of their growlers if you are going to be on the island for a few weeks, otherwise bring your own stainless steel growler if you are interested in some beer to go. Both breweries make a lager and a few other similar lighter beers. I skipped those in favor of the styles that I am most interested in, mostly because they charge $2.50 per taster.
Kauai Beer Company
I tried four beers at Kauai Beer Company, the Summer Red, IPA, Double IPA, and Oaked Porter. The Summer Red was good and balanced with fruity hops taking center stage with nice stone fruit flavors and a light bitterness. The IPA was pretty average with fruit and citrus at the front and a floral finish that I wasn’t a fan of. The Double IPA doesn’t have the same floral finish and is a bit more balanced and smooth with a citrus kick and strong bitter finish. The Oaked Porter was quite tasty with smooth body from the oak and a nice combination of light roast, mild smoke, and smooth oak. This was probably the best they had, and I can see why people are raving about it on Yelp.
Kauai Island Brewery and Grill
At Kauai Island Brewery and Grill I tried four beers as well. I tried their Lilikol Ale brewed with passion fruit, Fonz IPA, red, and porter. The Lilikol Ale was smooth and delicious with plenty of passion fruit flavor. The beer was more sweet than tart and though it might have been more my thing with a light tart finish, it was still very easy drinking and delicious. The Fonz IPA has great flavors of mango and citrus with a strong bitter finish that didn’t overpower the rest of it. I thought this was much better than the Kauai Beer Company IPA. The red ale was nicely balanced with fruity hops and a bitter finish. It lacked the sweeter fruit taste from the other brewery but was still solid. The porter was pretty standard with a mix of roast and caramel and a nice medium body.
Each of the breweries I visited had one or two beers that I really liked. If I had brought a growler with me I might have filled it at Kauai Island Brewery and Grill with their IPA or the passion fruit beer. If you are a big fan of IPAs, you should visit Kauai Island Brewery because I thought theirs was closer to the west coast style I love. Considering the selection of beers in most local grocery stores, many shipped from other islands, it s worth making the trip out to one of these two local breweries.