Kona Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 73 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
4.33/5 rDev +4.8%
(Visited 12/2010): Visited Kona during a stop on the big island on our cruise vacation. We walked to the brewpub from one of the stops on a bus tour. Kona is located at the crossroads of Kuakini Highway and Palani Rd. Parking looked to be ample around the facility.
Kona's atmosphere both inside and out is about all you could want in a Hawaiian brewpub. From the gigantic tank in the outdoor waiting area, gift booth, patio, and restaurant inside it is all welcoming and beer-centric. They also offer regular tours as long as you sign up in time at the host stand. The tour is informative and ends with samples. The color scheme inside can best be described as mustard 'n' Tang and there are surfboards and fans.
The beer selection at Kona is solid, from standard offerings to brewpub-exclusive beers. Some of the brews on tap when we visited included Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Sand Porter, Da Grind Buzz Kona Coffee Imperial Stout, Small Kine Bitter, Big Island Ginger Beer and Old Blowhole Barley Wine. All of Kona's beers are well-made. They also sell bottles like the Oceanic Organic Ale.
Service all around, from the hostess to the gift shop guy to the tour guide to the servers is very good.
Food at Kona is good as well. My wife and I both enjoyed our dishes.
Overall I would highly recommend anyone visiting the Big Island to find a way to visit this brewpub. It is a paradise within a paradise.
07-07-2011 20:45:37 | More by Dogbrick
3.73/5 rDev -9.7%
Located no more than a mile from the pier in Kona, as it so happened, this pub was located right next to our car rental pick-up as well. Talk about convenient!
Like Maui BP, Kona BP has a decided beach side, surfs up atmosphere and vibe to it. There is a very large outdoor dining area, with a good size indoor dining room area as well. Add to that a sizeable wrap around bar, and you would think it would be no problem finding a spot to perch on a warm, Wednesday afternoon. Well think again... even at 1:30, this place was packed, with a 10 to 15 minute wait to get a table (the bar area was completely packed).
As for the beer, i've never been a huge fan of the core line-up, and those beers (big wave, the fire rock pale ale, castaway IPA, longboard lager, etc.) were no better at the "source." Yet on the other hand, Kona had a number of limited release, and/or seasonals that were quite good, and completely surprised me. There version of a CDA (black sand lager I think), was qjute good, and they had on a pale ale (name began with a D) that was dry, hoppy, and flat out delicious. The hefeweizen was also quite good, and they also had an special IPA that was quite good (might have been the Ohi). So my quality score is based on those beers (I was so unhappy with the glass of Castaway i got on our cruise ship, that I dumped it, even after paying $10 for a 22 ounce glass).
Food was also OK. We got the crab cakes and an artichoke dip that were both pretty tasty. Prices were on the high side, but again, given that this is Hawaii, and that a lot of the ingredients served at the pub aren't readily available on the islands, I didn't think they were outrageous.
Couple of other things to mention. One thing I appreciated, is that they had a small growler shack out front of the pub (sort of like the DFH store in Rehoboth Beach). I also got a cap here (at $25 a pop), and unlike most places, the cap I got was not adjustable. I have a fairly large head, and so the 6 and 7/8 to 7 and a quarter size hat barrely fit me. Something to keep in mind if you decide to do the same (as the caps are kind of cool). Be sure to verify that they have your cap size before buying one.
All and all, I enjoyed our stop here. Not sure I quite understand the massive crowd (unlike most breweries in Hawaii, Kona beers are generally pretty easy to find around the islands), but regardless. The speciality beers were pretty good, and the food was decent. I'd likely go back.
07-08-2014 01:13:35 | More by John_M
4.05/5 rDev -1.9%
Visited twice during my vacation to the Big Island and was happty both times. Plenty of outdoor seatings like every other place in Kona. We sat outside both occasions but were a little perturbed by some loud 20 somethings yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs on Sat afternoon.
Brewery is just off of Ali'i drive, back about two streets from Ali'i, but signage pointed the way. The signs could have been bigger and placed in a better area but I found the place okay.
Service was pretty good compared to other restaurants in the area. There were about eight beers on draft and most were delicious. Pipeline porter, Lilikoi wheat, Wailua wheat, Dukes lager, Longboard, Firerock Pale Ale, and one or two others.
The food was delicious. Veggie (greek) pizza was delicious, quesidillas and hamburgers were awesome as well. Beer were $4.56 per pint but the wheat beers were an extra 75 cents for a 22oz wheat glass.
Highly recommend this place if ever in Kona. Could have spent one more afternoon there but ran out of time.
05-07-2007 20:51:38 | More by SaCkErZ9
3.88/5 rDev -6.1%
Visited 3 times in 4 days on my vacation to the Big Island in Hawaii.
On the whole, I like this palce - great beer selection, a few of them are excellent, and the food is above average. Their non-bottled offerings are far better than the bottled ones, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Atmosphere is atrocious on the busier nights of the week - it feels like a fraternity party with the noisey people, loud music, and employees (including cooks) singing aloud to the music. There's no room to sit, or even to order a pint at the pub while standing, and the wait commonly exceeds an hour.
During quieter times I found the service to be about average, and the other features tend to stick out - this place is hard to find on your first visit, especially with regard to the parking. Once you figure out the warehouse-like back road entry it isn't too bad, but it gives off a very "locals only" feel from the start.
Given the paucity of beer selection in Hawaii this place is a must, but in any other context I can't see it doing well with the location & atmosphere. It doesn't help that their better beers are the rotating seasonals that aren't bottled. Their chocolate stout and oceanic organic wheat simply eclipse their pale ale, but yet they bottle the pale ale and it doesn't seem to do so well.
03-11-2008 07:24:45 | More by yemenmocha
4.4/5 rDev +6.5%
Stopped in here with my family on our last night on the Big Island. I'm so, so happy we did! We ended up taking the 3:00pm tour and staying for drinks and dinner afterward.
Kona Brewing Co. in Kailua-Kona is a very small operation. According to our tour guide, Jesse, they only brew 11,000 barrels each year, and they only bottle (by hand) one of those beers: Oceanic Organic. All of the Kona available on the mainland is contract brewed by Widmer Brother Brewing Company in Portland, OR and Redhook Ales Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. I learned these little tidbits along with loads of other interesting facts during the brewery tour, which I highly recommend!
After enjoying our complimentary beer samples (handed out at the end of the tour), we picked out a table on the outdoor patio and ordered a round. As luck would have it, they were pouring an experimental batch of their imperial stout: Bourbon Barrel Aged Da Grind Buzz Kona Coffee Imperial Stout with Vanilla Bean, served on nitro-tap. I couldn't believe it! (I wouldn't have known either, if it weren't for our wonderful server - I believe his name was Shane.) Sitting out on the patio was very relaxing, especially when it began to sprinkle. Our large table was shielded by an even larger umbrella, so none of us got wet. Kona Brewing Co.'s interior felt a bit cramped, but the patio was spaced out very nicely.
Our server was very nice and informative, and not too bothersome or slow. All or our beers were beautifully poured, and arrived in either (non-chilled) pint glasses or tulips, depending on the style.
I was quite impressed by Kona Brewing Co.'s beer selection, which included at least fifteen different ales and lagers, including some real specialties like '09 Old Blowhole and the aforementioned Bourbon Barrel Aged Da Grind Buzz with Vanilla Bean. According to our tour guide, Jesse, all of Kona's stouts are served on nitro-tap, and cask versions of select ales are offered several times a month.
We ended up ordering a couple of pizzas, some salads, and cheese bread, all of which were decent. Pizza, burgers, and sandwiches made up the bulk of the menu - pretty standard pub grub.
The tour, the beer, and the service made this an excellent visit, but the low prices made things even better. $5.28 for a 12oz. tulip of BA Da Grind Buzz, '09 Old Blowhole, and Oceanic Organic; $4.80 for most other pints; $3.60 for the special of the night: Coco Loco Brown Ale. This is a fantastic brewpub, and a must for anyone spending significant time on the Big Island!
07-25-2010 04:15:13 | More by ThreeWiseMen
4.55/5 rDev +10.2%
Been waiting a long time to visit this BP. Located a shortish walk from downtown Kona behind a strip mall. Walking into the pub a growler/keg shack is located to the left of the host stand-this is where you can buy a growler of keg without going into the pub-great concept. Seating is located mostly outdoors under umbrellas with a few tables inside-but hey this is Kona why sit inside?
On tap were 12 beers or so-including the regular beers available on the mainland with several pub only seasonals, including a Saisson (organic), Barley Wine (in June!), and old ale.
Our car rental travel guide included a coupon for a free ap with purchase of sampler-no brainer. Our sampler consisted of two porters, two wheats, IPA, gold, and lager. Other folks who bought samplers only got 4-5 beers-lucky us.
We followed the sampler with pints of the IPA, Hefe, Wheat, Lava Rock Porter, then glasses of Saisson, and barley wine. All beers where outstanding especially the Barley Wine-nice to have in June. A second trip to KBC the night before our return home found the Barley Wine gone-but replaced with a Bourbon-Barrel Aged Old Ale-also excellent.
Food was excellent-pizza and salad.
Service was excellent. Don't know if we will ever get back-but if I do I am heading here straight off the plane.
There is KBC in Honolulu airport as well.
Be on the lookout for the mongoose-no you are not drunk if you see one-they live on the brewery grounds.
06-26-2009 23:08:01 | More by bradybeer
Kona Brewing Co. in Kailua Kona, HI
92 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.