Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Letters: Brewpub on Kauai…

By William Brand
Sunday, April 1st, 2007 at 11:26 pm in Uncategorized.

Also: Mateveza, New Belgium Springboard, Lost Abbey beers, Bards Tale Ale, Newcastle Brown

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Hello, I wanted to request a copy of the 2007 Northern California Retail Beer Store List, please. I’m not sure if it’s a snail mail or email thing. I do prefer it the old fashion way if possible!

Also— I enjoyed your blog on the Maui Beer Trip. I wanted to ask you if you have any leads on Pubs/Breweries in Kauai? I’m going with there in about 2 weeks and thought you might have heard of a place through your Maui experience. Thanks very much!
Cheers, Cecily, Concord, CA.

PS- I really enjoy your column, I’m glad the CC Times decided to add it.

Hi Cecily. I’m mailing the beer store list to you today. About Kauai. There’s a craft brewer: Keoki. They make an excellent beer: Keoki Sunset. But it’s just a brewery in a warehouse. By all means order the beer.

kauai-waimea-brewing-co-2005.jpgThere’s one remaining brewpub: Waimea Brewing Co., 9400 Kaumualii Hwy., Waimea, Kauai, 808-338-9733. I met the brewer last year. It’s inside a decent restaurant on an old plantation on the edge of the ocean. It’s quite lovely. There are tables outside on a large porch. The beer is drinkable. I wouldn’t call it great, but we had an excellent lunch there.

Also, guidebooks often still list the “Whaler’s brewpub.” NOT. Here’s my blog item from August, 2005:

Waimea Brewing has an exotic, tropical entranceway.
Drinking Beer in Paradise

Monday, August 29th, 2005

LIHUE, KAUAI, HAWAII — As we walked toward the Whalers Brewpub entrance, I peered in a window of the brew plant and I realized there was trouble in paradise: The brew house was a shambles; insulation around pipes was crumbling; there was a pool of water on the far-from-spotless floor.

The copper brew kettle was tarnished and discolored. Well, maybe this is an Hawaiian lambic brewery, I thought.

Wrong. Jennifer DeLaRosa, the only staff person on the premises, late this Sunday afternoon, explained there hadn’t been a brewer at the Whaler’s in a year and a half. They did have Keoki Sunset***, Keoki Gold** and Kona Longboard Lager**, on tap, plus a half-dozen bottled beers. I’d already tried all three and really liked the Sunset, so I ordered it.

She brought me half a glass. “That’s all there is,” she said. Surprisingly, unlike the derelict brew plant, they must keep the beer lines clean; even this little dab was fine, not an off-note.

Whaler’s Pub, Lihue, Kuaui, HiwaiiOK, don’t get me wrong. Whaler’s may not be a brewpub these days; the beer list may be slim, but this place is indeed paradise. It’s located on a promontory, at the edge of Hanapepe Bay. From the long patio, beside the pub, you can see forever out into the Pacific. Look west and it’s all tropical lushness. Coconut palms; bougainvillea bushes, plumeria trees with their wild white flowers and incongruously, the carefully manicured Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

Whaler’s is incredibly hard to find. It took us two family fights and directions from a local resident to locate the place. It’s at the back the Kaua’i Marriott. Take the main Marriott entrance off Rice Street and thread your way back, about a half-mile of tourists, golfers and tropical lushness. But it’s worth the journey.
Sunsets here, I’m told, are the best on this side of the island. I believe it; gorgeous view and maybe they’ll have Keoki Sunset back on line.

Jennifer told us the place rocks, especially on holiday weekends and when a cruise ship calls at the harbor below. A three day blast is planned Labor Day Weekend. There’s a DJ from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. on Mondays and Thursday.

Whaler’s, 3132 Ninini Point Road, Lihue, Kawai, Hawaii
(808) 245-2000, Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. Closing times vary.

Springboard and Mateveza and Maui Brewing Coconut Porter

Bill: Now I will have to try the (New Belgium Brewing) Springboard. This creepy neighborhood dive always has a weird beer on tap for a really low price. I noticed that one is on tap, now.

I enjoy drinking yerba mate for the healthy stimulant effect. But a yerba mate beer? (Mateveza) I’ll reserve judgment. Yerba mate already tastes like hay. I’m interested, though, in how he blended that with other flavors.

Enjoyed the piece on Maui. (See this blog, March.) Those guys really impressed me when I interviewed them for my canned beer article that got nixed. The Coconut Porter was one of my favorites at the Fest last year; enjoyed their Abbey, as well. Were you a lucky dog and able to take some cans home?

I’ve been trying the sorghum beers out there. My stomach is getting older and crankier. I actually liked the Budweiser Redbridge better than Lakefront’s New Grist. Right now, I’m getting ready to drink chianti.

Best, Gregory, Denver, CO.

Greg: I bought a sixer of the Maii IPA, but drank it all there and never got back to buy more. sigh.

Have you tried Bard’s Tale Ale? It’s contract brewed by Gordon-Biersch in San Jose. Far better than Redbridge. More of a malty, sorghum feel and a lot more hops to balance it. Haven;t tried the Lakefront one. Don’t think it’s ever made it out here. b

Hi Bill, Great piece! I really enjoyed it. You effectively told the story and then nailed the flavor description. The pictures came out great as well. Can’t wait to try the Springboard! Sounded quite complex.

Anyway, thanks again for reviewing Mateveza. I really appreciate you taking a look at it. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my progress.

Jim Woods, Mateveza, San Francisco,

The external search for Pizza Port’s Lost Abbey Angel’s Share

Hi, read your blog and am looking for a place to pick up Angel’s Share barleywine in the South Bay.Lost Abbey label.

— I hate to say this Dean. I don’t know. The South Bay, as you no doubt know, is a craft beer wasteland. I’m going to call the brewery in the morning and ask. Two places that have the Lost Abbey Beers are The City Beer Store on Folsom Street in San Francisco and Ledger’s Liquors on University Avenue in Berkeley. Again, I don’t know if they have this one.
The Beverages and More stores have begun carrying Lost Abbey, but they don’t list this one on their website and according to their website, they’re all sold out. b. Well, I checked Ledger’s: Lost Abbey, yes. Angel’s Share, no.

Newcastle Brown: The Best-Selling Import in American Supermarkets

Hi William – I read with interest that Newcastle Brown Ale is the biggest selling import beer in supermarkets (bigger than Corona?) and the description of the beer. I was born and raised a few miles from the Newcastle and Newcastle Brown Ale bottle capbegan a lifelong love affair with beer dranking Newcastle Brown and Amber Ales at an age that would get landlords arrested in the USA.

The interesting thing to me is how the flavor profile has migrated south over the last several decades.

The original Newcastle Brown Ale was a big beer by English standards, but it was defintiely a North Country hop accented ale, quite unlike the brown ales from brewers in the English Midlands and the South. Seems like it has been dumbed down at some point. I will make a point of trying it next time I am in Newcastle to see if the original flavor lives on.

Sadly, it is no longer brewed in Newcastle – the real estate turned out to be worth more than the brewery.

Did I miss you at the 10th Anniversary. Best regards!
George Hancock. Pyramid Ales, Seattle, Berkeley

Hi George. Yeah the Newcastle Brown stat is shocking isn’t it. I think you’re right, the beer has been totally dumbed down for mass consumption. That factoid about Nookie Brown being the number one import in supermarket and mom & pop store sales is buried in the power point presentation from the Brewers Association.

Yes I came to your Berkeley 10th, met your PR lady. The place was jammed (good), had one of your porter’s and one ipa and a sandwich. Thanks for the invite. b.

LAST NOTE: The references to blog postings can be found by searching the blog. I also write a column that appears each Wednesday in the Food Sections of the Oakland (CA.) Tribune, the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA.) and other MediaNews Group papers. If you’re interested in a column, e-mail me: or post a comment on this blog item. b.

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  • Darci Arthur

    Hi William,

    I ran across your blog by accident while researching Hawaiian beer pubs and am so glad I did! I’ll be following along from now on. I do have a beer mystery I’m hoping you might be able to help me with:
    A year ago, a friend gave me a box of Scrooge & Marley holiday beer. I expected it to be junk, but was surprised by how good the Bock and Red Ale were. I’d like to get some more but have hit a wall. My friend picked it up on a trip to Las Vegas and apparently, Scrooge & Marley only sell it through distributors. The distributor they list on their website ( Beauchamp, states they haven’t carried this product in years. I have sent emails to S&M but no response. I’m at a dead end. Any way you could find out what brewery brews this product and how I can get a hold of them to order some (either holiday special or every day stuff). I’d appreciate any help you can give me on this. Many thanks, D. Arthur

  • Darci Arthur

    P.S. I should add I live in San Leandro, CA. and Beauchamp Dist. are the only distributors listed for the state of California. Hopefully someone else in the state carries this product, or perhaps someone out of state (the brewer?) would be willing to ship.
    Thanks again,