Mehana Mauna Kea Pale Ale - Hawai'i Nui Brewing / Mehana Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Mehana Mauna Kea Pale AleMehana Mauna Kea Pale Ale

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55 Ratings
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Ratings: 55
Reviews: 31
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 2
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hawai'i Nui Brewing / Mehana Brewing Company visit their website
Hawaii, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-21-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 31
Reviews by SargeC:
More User Reviews:
Photo of steve86
4.2/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel malt and "C" hops dominate the aroma. Slight pear in the background. Very nice.

Poured a nice amber/light copper. Rich off-white head persisted and left legs on the glass.

Bittersweet caramel malt.with a nice hoppy bitterness. I got more of an English hop flavor than a "c" hop flavor, but it was very good. Clean malty finish, with plenty enough bitterness to balance. Great tasting beer.

I like this one a lot, and have already gone back for more.

Photo of biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pint at the Waikiki Yard House.

This beer pours a clear medium golden amber hue, with one finger of chunky, foamy ecru head, which leaves a limestone wall of lace around the glass as it slinks away.

It smells of mild bready caramel malt, and soft leafy, earthy hops . The taste is zingy grassy, weedy hops, pale doughy malt, and a bit of low-key menthol.

The bubbles are quite sedate, the body a somewhat clingy medium weight, and nonetheless pretty smooth. It finishes mostly sweet and malty, but with an astrigent hoppy twinge running through it.

A none too shabby pale ale, easy to drink, unapologetically unchallenging, and I'll stop right there.

Photo of bditty187
3.59/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy, peachy-coppery in hue, there is a tickle of orange in the mix; the color composite of the liquid is typical for the style. The head was very loud and active; it looked like and acted like a cola. At the apex the bubbles reached a mere sliver of a finger and then they quickly sputtered to a thin collar and then nothing. Thus, the head retention wasn’t very impressive and neither was the subsequent lacing, or lack thereof. Overall, the appearance of this beer is mundane.

The nose clearly says, “APA.” I am impressed. I honestly wasn’t expecting such an intoxicating nose, it is a shame the actually potency wasn’t louder because this beer is plenty articulate. Throughout the bouquet there are juicy hops that manifest themselves in the form of citrus zest, grapefruit flesh, and there is even a smattering of pine, some wildflowers, and honey. The ale-fruitiness is restrained but I could detect some strawberries/blackberries. The maltiness is distant but that is to be expected; there is some sweet caramel sweetness at the back. The nose is well constructed, I find it to be inviting.

The palate is a bit of a letdown. The nose showed so much promise but it lied to me. I was told there would be hoppy bitterness; I didn’t taste enough. Sure there is some here bitterness, it is Pale Ale-like no doubt, but I was expecting a more “Americanized” blast. I got a lightly citrusy twang with a wildflower and piney underbelly. Conversely the malt is played up, which really isn’t a problem. But since I can taste the caramel, honey malt so clearly I wish the hops were louder and thus this beer would be fantastic since many APA fails to draw in the malt. Strawberries and sweet berry candy clearly demonstrates this beer is an ale. Light bitterness at the finish, otherwise it is juicy and sweet. I like this beer fine; it is a good drinking APA. If it had more punch, it would be truly great!

Almost medium in body, moderately low carbonation, the mouthfeel fits this beer well even if it is unexceptional.

I found this beer to be an easy quaff. It is a bit too fruity to pair with grilled meats but I bet it would work well with sharp cheeses and tangy fruit. It is tasty, simple, and agreeable. Sometimes you don’t need any more than that. I need to thank my Uncle Rick and Aunt Kathy for bringing me a mixed six-pack of Hawaiian beers. Thanks for including this one.

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.12/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't keep detailed tasting notes on this one while on my honeymoon in Maui in April 2006, but I tried several Hawaiian beers while in town, and this was one of if not my favorite of the bunch. A crisp clean pale ale that shows me that this brewery (which I had never heard of before the trip) is a solid contender for best of the few Hawaiian breweries around. Aroma is a nice kiss of hops, floral and clean, with a flavorful malt profile. Reminiscent of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in overall character, but more subdued (which makes sense in the hot humid climate where it is made). Recommended.

12 oz. bottle (several) purchased at EZ Discount in Lahaina, HI for approximately $1.25.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no date on the label. Pours a hazy copper color, with a fluffy white head. Thehead disappeared very quickly, but left a few spots of lace.

Citrusy hop aroma, and an odd bit of sourness. A bit of bready malt in the distance.

Decent malt character, with some hints of citrusy hops. Some underlying sourness, which seems out of place. Finishes with some earthy flavors.

Decent body and carbonation. Not very impressive.

Photo of atigerlife
3.48/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

Pours a nice orange/gold with a small creamy white head. The head dissipates rather quickly. Decent lacing and a good amount of carbonation can be seen rising.

Aroma of grapefruit rind and very flowery. Very interesting. The taste was sweeter than expected. Decent amount of hops that shine mostly at the back end. Malt is present, though not overpowering. Rather light flavor that has a citrus undertone.

The mouthfeel was cleansing with a medium body. There was a strange "soapy" feel that I couldn't shake. Not pleasant.

Overall, a drinkable brew from Mehana. Light enough that you could have several. My main reservation was the sweet/flowery/soapy taste and mouthfeel might become cloying. One was fine for me.

Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy golden brown color with a moderate off-white head, which lingers quite well, being constantly renewed by streams of carbonation. The lacing is abundant, coarse, and broken.

Aroma: Predominately pine tar hops, with a base of honey-like malt.

Taste: Opens with a rather grainy astringent note; slightly bready notes follow on. Finishes quite dry with a fusilade of lingering pine tar hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth and full, with a mild sting of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A quite pleasant pale ale, although it seems excessively dry.

Photo of ghostwalker
2.76/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle purchased at the Liquor Collection in Honolulu.

Body is light amber with thin head, moderate lacing.

Nose is almost non-existent. Really.

Flavor is watered down APA. Very little malt body, light hops on the finish. It's like my favorite session PA; only much, much less so.

Mouthfeel is thin, macro thin.

Drinkability is OK. It seems that many Hawaiian brews are made to be served cold on a hot day...fair enough. This is just far too light for my palate.

Photo of CU570M
4.53/5  rDev +36%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A light copper colored beer. This pours with little to no head and was gone in 2 seconds. The smell came off fruity, flowery, and hoppy. Like a tropical fruit. Great Aromas!! Taste sweet, creamy, and, tangy. hits your taste buds and leaves you craving more. Taste was also fruity and flowery. Mouthfeel was a smooth creamy soft feeling. Drinkability is great! I wish i could pick up a 12 or 6 pack of these.

Photo of woodychandler
3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big, rocky, ecru head with good retention. Color was a deep-gold with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a slightly grapish scent. Mouthfeel was medium with a lightly sweetish flavor on the tongue. Finish had a crisper, hoppier taste than what I expected. An unusual beer for an off-the-beaten-path brewery. Mahalo!

Photo of birddogg66
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a 16 oz nonick pint

A- Pours a deep gold color, with a 1/2" white head and medium bubbles, which gives the glass an O.K. lacing

S- Malt comes out in the beginning with a small amount of citrus hops, and some cereal grains. Later on in the pint, I found some more bready characteristics almost like a pretzel.

T- The taste starts out with a nice amount of maltiness that eases into more bitterness as it warms. A nice balance of flavor.

M- A very light to medium bodied beer. Not an overabundance of effervescence.

D- I found this beer to have a nice balance between the malt and hops. Not overly bitter and not very sweet either. If you are looking for a nice local Pale that won't be very overpowering with flavor, grab a Mauna Kea. With it's lack of being very heavy, this is a good beach beer!

Photo of PDXHops
3.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. See-thru light amber with a frothy off-white head that leaves decent lacing.

Well balanced in nose and taste, with fresh citrus, caramel, toasted and cereal grains all getting in on the action. Well carbonated with a modest sting of bitterness that lingers a bit in the finish. A minor complaint is a bit of thinness at the swallow. Pretty much tailor-made for sitting on the deck watching the waves roll in, which is how I enjoyed it.

Photo of Donkster46
4.35/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surprised this was only 77 on here. The one I had was everything a PA should be!

Photo of irishevans
3.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Head Pours tall then bubbles down to a steady 1/2 finger head, white with a slight hint of yellow. the color is a honey/amber and seems to be well carbonated.

N- a faint herbal hop smell and light cracker/toasted bread notes.

T- Lots of grapefruit and bread in the taste with some herbal hop flavor showing up on the finish.

M- About dead on pale ale, maybe a tiny bit over hopped but still nice. perfect carbonation level also.

D- a good flavorful session pale. there's more than enough to it to keep you interested, and all in a beer of a nice size.

Photo of changeup45
3.68/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good Pale Ale that falls a close second to the Kona Fire Rock Ale as far as the HI beers I tried. Very nice hop/malt balance with a smooth, somewhat bitter finish. Very easy drinking. Copper or light brown color with a nice head and lacing. This is a good overall beer that I think can appeal to a wide range of beer drinkers. The reason it cost me 6 bucks is because I had it at Mama's Fish House restaurant and any of you familiar with Maui will know that place isn't cheap. It would be much less if you purchased it from a retailer.

Photo of leaddog
3.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from ABC store in Honolulu.

Appearance- Pours a golden amber with a finger width of bubbly head.

Smell- Malts (caramel), honey, hint of hops. Not much else to the aroma.

Taste- Caramalts play a lead role followed by the hops, and the sweetness of the honey. Pleasant bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium bodied with light carbonation.

Overall- An enjoyable pale ale. Stands out because of the honey and bitterness. I am loving these Hawaii'n brews.

Photo of JISurfer
2.64/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Figured moving to Hawai'i, means I have to try out the locals. While there are good ones, there are also plenty of average to meh ones. Unfortunately, this one was meh. Not sure what the canning date was on this one was, because like so many other breweries here, there are no canning dates on anything. It may have been old, so I'd like to try it on tap. This one was way too malty for me.

Photo of srandycarter
2.91/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear gold pale, heavy head and lots of carbonation. Over flowed glass. Lots of cling lace.

S - Slight malt, grainy , sort of metallic smell.

T -Malty, some hops aspect. Not as full a beer as hoped.

M - Creamy , somewhat overly bitter at finish.

D - Once is enough. Not much better than a macro, IMO.

Photo of Hiwattowner
3.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

6 pack picked up at the brewery in Hilo. This is an easy drinking pale ale that I think drinks much better than Kona's Fire Rock. Fresh, has a subtle dankness coming through.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.29/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased at The Wine Corner in Paia, Maui, Hawaii. I picked this one up because I have never seen it in California.

Pours a slightly hazy honey orange with a 2 inch foamy off-white head that settles to an island of foam. Random splotches of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is malt, citrus zest, and some metallic aromas. There is also a bit of a skunky smell that comes out. Taste is of malt, citrus zest, and soapy flavors. A mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a somewhat flat and watery mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty bad pale ale all around. The worst of the Mehana beers I found in Hawaii.

Photo of schoolboy
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At frst taste I thought that this Hawaiian Pale Ale had a little more going on than the similar Kona brew. By the second or third taste it seemed to have an unrefined skunkiness that I didn't care for.

I will probably never see this beer again unless I come back to Hawaii or maybe on the west coast, but that'll be OK. I am pleasantly surprised by the variety of "local" unique beers that have been available to sample right here in Waikiki.

Like the Kona, this one is creamy. But this is also a slightly different style ale and it is trying a little harder to be hoppier. Instead it comes off as having an infected kind of taste. A lot more hops might overcome that. This is not one I would seek out.

Photo of vfgccp
2.92/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased from an area BD in Kona HI.

A - Lightly cloud auburn body. White head builds nicely but doesn't last long or leave much lace.

S - Wort-like sweet sweetness with a light breadiness. Kiss of booze.

T - Bright up front with a twang of acidity. An moderate alpha oil bitterness rolls through the profile with a light pine edge on the back end. Bready malt and a wart-like sweetness build through the center and lends some sweetness to the bitter finish.

M - Great carbonation on a smooth, medium-full frame for the style. I'd say technically it's a bit thick for the style, but I really liked it.

O - A bit rough around the edges; the flavors could use a little more integration, and I'd like more clarity in the color. The wort note really skews things for me too. Overall, not a bad offering - but having been to Kona Brewing Co. and tasted the quality of their local offerings, and having seen how broadly Kona is distributed locally (it's literally everywhere you can buy beer in HI) Mehana definitely needs to reach for a higher bar.

Photo of canucklehead
3.85/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nose on this beer is very fragrant in a way that I couldn't pin down. There was fruit esters mixed in with the more traditional hop
nose. This pale ale took some chances with its profile which makes this beer a point of discussion at the tasting in which it was poured. All the Mehana beers I tasted show originality and brewing panache. Wish I could get them in Canada

Photo of peacebone116
3.28/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my brother Tim for bringing this back to me from his November (2010) honeymoon on Maui. Tasted on 7/6/2011 from a tulip glass.

A: Massive egg-shell white head! after it calms, the beer sets into being a bright cloudy orange with a well retained 1 - 2 fingers of head.

N: A bit of a soapy floral (not in so much of a bad way) and light biscuit.

T/M: Light with lots of carbonation, which almost leads me to believe that there could be a slight infection. Beer tastes sweet with a touch of caramel combined with a light floral not reminiscent of jasmine; very interesting.

I can see this as being a prime option under the tropical sun of HI after a day of playing in the water. Not overly impressed by this, but it could be due to its obvious age and all the miles it has traveled, but overall a pretty acceptable summertime pale. Thanks again, Tim!

Photo of jbsteiny
3/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure why my experience with this beer is so unfavorable after all of these other decent reviews, especially since I'm drinking it in Hawaii and I got it at the Safeway, which I assume has decent rotation. If I feel differently the next time I have it, I'll be sure to come back and edit.

Purs a hazy golden orange into my imperial pint glass. Consistent, strong fine carbonation allowed for decent head retention and light lacing down the glass.

I find the smell to have an unusual amount of malt in it for an APA -- not a bad thing at all. I get toasted and honey characteristics. The hops seem mostly citrus to me, definately grapefruit, but there are floral and pine notes as well. A bit of the fruity ale yeast. But over all, these elements don't really blend well for me in this beer -- there is a chemical element to it, perhaps? I've detected it every time I've had this brew, but I'm unable to identify it. Soapy.

Unfortunately, I'm not happy with this beer's taste. It starts out inoffensive, a light pale ale, but as it unfolds on the tongue, its positive attributes are overwhelmed by this nasty soapiness. I get a little blood orange, honey, light caramel, but it all dissolves into metal/soap/chemical bitterness for me. I was surprised to see that no one else tasted this. Could be I got a bad batch.

The mouthfeel, similarly, starts off fine, very creamy, but there's that bitter soapy finish that ruins it for me. All of this said, it's a very light pale ale, and it would go back fairly easy with food. Maybe I should try pairing it -- I think it would go very well with grilled chicken or pesto pasta. Disappointing go -- don't think I'll be picking up a sixer of this again...

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Mehana Mauna Kea Pale Ale from Hawai'i Nui Brewing / Mehana Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.