Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kona Brewers Festival 2015

It’s 6am, Saturday, March 14th. Getting out of bed was easy. We had 2 fantastic events to look forward to. First up, the 8th annual Run for Hops event fundraiser for P.A.T.H. (Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii). This year, 500 runners and walkers showed up to support a program which teaches Hawaii Island 4th graders important bike safety skills. We ran the event and had a great time. The weather was perfect (not too hot) and at the finish line there was a boat load of food and a generous amount of Longboard Lager flowing thanks to Kona Brewing Company.

After the run we went back to our rental, jumped in the pool and relaxed before our next adventure that day, the Kona Brewers Festival (KBF). We planned on getting down to KBF for the blessing that was scheduled to take place between 1:10-1:30, but sadly we missed it. It’s always a challenge coordinating a group of friends. All was good though. We weren’t stressed. After all, we were on the beautiful island of Hawaii.

The KBF prides itself on sustainability. This was apparent upon entry. We were handed a reusable glass mug and a nicely crafted, wood spork. Other sustainable items that stood out were large ‘water monsters’, which are giant tanks of water that eliminate the need for water bottles. Biodegradable food service ware was also used, such as ti leaf plates and toothpicks. I read that volunteers help sort and haul a third of the festival’s waste to community recycling centers. KBF gets two giant thumbs up from us for their efforts to leave the Big Island and our planet with less waste. We were also happy to read that our ticket purchase helped to fund five school gardens, future Big Island chefs and a number of non-profit groups who help children and the environment.

So, what was the festival like? AWESOME! Here are some of the highlights.
  • 53 Hawaii and Mainland Breweries with two beers each
  • Savoy and sweet island-style pupus from over 30 Big Island restaurants
  • Minimal lines for beer and food tasting
  • A feeling of ohana
  • Live music
  • Sun, surf and sea
  • Aloha spirit
The most important thing to us was being at KBF with our friends who we were vacationing with. It was amazing to be in such a beautiful place with them experiencing our very 1st KBF together.

Other personal highlights were tasting new beers from Hawaii and the Mainland. I found myself drawn to the dark side that day. I used most of my 10 taster tics on porters, browns and stouts. I can’t say I had one bad beer. However, the stand out for me was Mehana Brewing. I found their Hawaiian Crow Porter and Mauana Kea Pale Ale to be delicious. On the lighter side, Green Flash killed it with their Jibe Session Ale. It was nice to see my homeland, Oregon represented well. In passing, I saw Ben from Gigantic, he was actually on our flight, along with some Widmer reps. My buddy Mark and his squeeze Brenda bumped into the Breakside crew. In all, 13 breweries from Oregon made an appearance. You can find the entire list of breweries and beers on KBF’s blog post.

KBF is definitely at the top of ‘My Favorite Brew Fest’ list. The setting is sublime. I also found the unlimited, delicious food samples to be a huge perk. Other festivals should take note. If you ever plan on getting tickets for this festival you better be on it. I read it sold out in like 3 minutes. Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer must have been looking over me that day, because something beyond on my powers made it happen.

Mahalo to KBF, The Billy Healy Foundation, the 600 plus volunteers, all the sponsors, the local restaurants and the breweries!

1 comment:

  1. Tastes decent on its own, not as good with food for some reason. I'm no beer expert, but after drinking it was sorry I didn't leave the grocery store to go somewhere where Sam Adams summer ale was available