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

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Mehana Mauna Kea Pale AleMehana Mauna Kea Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Hawai'i Nui Brewing / Mehana Brewing Company
Hawaii, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-21-2004

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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 65
Photo of Hiwattowner
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of JISurfer
2.64/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

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Photo of leaddog
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 16oz American pint at the Waikiki Yard House.

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

The bubbles are quite sedate in their workaday frothiness, the body a somewhat clingy middleweight, and nonetheless pretty smooth. It finishes mostly sweet and malty, but with an astringent hoppy twinge running through it.

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

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Photo of hopfacebrew
2.88/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another new brew to try while in Hawaii! Poured from undated brown bottle to pint glass the beer arrives a bit hazy with a red straw colored body. A decent 1 finger white head with limited retention and no lacing. The nose is malty sweet with a light biscuit character and a hint of the alcohol, not much in terms of hop presence in the nose. The flavor follows suit and is malty sweet with a biscuit base. A more pronounced pine hop character provides a mild bitterness which grows throughout the beer to finish. Well carbonated and relatively smooth, the beer finishes medium bodied and crisp. Overall, a fairly average beer, seems to be the theme for this brewery.

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Photo of vfgccp
2.92/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.29/5  rDev -32.2%
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.

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Photo of peacebone116
3.28/5  rDev -3%
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!

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Photo of birddogg66
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
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!

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Photo of PDXHops
3.55/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of irishevans
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
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!

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Photo of srandycarter
2.91/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.6/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear orange with a thick white head. Aroma of stale wheat, light fruits, clove, and citrus. Flavor of vegetal, stale malt. Ick. Aroma is ok, but the flavor is just not tasty. Hard to choke down even a small sample.
6/3/4/3/11 (2.7/5)

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Photo of changeup45
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of Floydster
3.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle that was part of a six pack my dad and I split while in Maui a couple weeks ago, think it was around ten dollars at Star Markets on Kihei Road, reviewed from notes, poured into a pint glass

A-Color was a cloudy golden pale straw color, small 1/2 inch soapy head, went away pretty fast, not much retention, left a decent amount of lacing though
S-Smell was mostly perfumey hops, some citrus including lemon and oranges, bready malt, some other faint plant-like scents, and straw
T-Taste was really hoppy up front, some chewy malt in the middle, more hoppiness and straw in the finish, some citrus came to the surface once it warmed, very dry all the way through which was a nice change from other pale ales I have had
M-Fairly thin body, tons of carbonation, taste did not linger long, mouthfeel was crisp, dry, chewy, and citrusy at the same time
D-Could drink a few bottles of this and I did, extremely light on the stomach except the occasional cottonmouth from the big hop profile, goes down easy on a hot day, ABV seemed low

Mehana's best in my opinion, at least from the four or five I tried while over there, different than other pale ales I have had, very hoppy in comparison, would drink again if I went back, recommended

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Photo of arizcards
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack in Kauai in early June for $7.99.

Beer poured a golden orange with a solid white head. Nose was not much, hints of malts and no other characteristics. The malts and the hops are nicely balanced with the promises of being a good beer but unfortunately a hint of astringency plays after. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, it is a fairly smooth beer. Overall drinkability is pretty good, it is a well balanced beer.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
3.72/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was really looking forward to this as possibly the best Hawaiian local beer. A very outlandish attempt for a small pacific Island brewery. Its good, but not the best Hawaiian, a bit different than the mainland attemts at a [what I guess as strong] American Pale Ale. First off, it doesn't pour very pale, more a deeb hazy golden amber, medium off white creamy head with good lacing. Beautiful flowery-perfume aroma with pinnapple and apricot. Taste is quite bitter with a slightly alcoholic and astringent finish. Not too amazing, a bit of a let down.

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Photo of steve86
4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
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.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.47/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3/5  rDev -11.2%
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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Photo of CU570M
4.53/5  rDev +34%
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.

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Photo of ghostwalker
2.76/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
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.

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Mehana Mauna Kea Pale Ale from Hawai'i Nui Brewing / Mehana Brewing Company
3.38 out of 5 based on 65 ratings.
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