Back in February there was an announcement on the Friends of the Big Island Brewhaus Facebook page that Waimea’s new microbrewery had their Aloha Lager and Paniolo Pale Ale fermenting and that a first tapping was anticipated for early March. Today, this highly anticipated milestone will be achieved by owners Tom and Jayne Kerns, ushering in a new era for Big Island beer aficionados with a preference for local brews.
Tom Kerns, an award-winning brewmaster with 20 years of experience, began his professional brewing career at Oregon’s McMenamins Edgefield in 1993, but it was while serving as brewmaster for Maui Brewing Company that his creations garnered recognition in international competitions alongside beers from all over the world. Currently, Tom and the Big Island Brewhaus have four brews in the tanks: Paniolo Pale Ale™, Aloha Lager™, Overboard IPA™ (India Pale Ale) and an un-named Irish Stout, which will be tapped for St. Patrick’s Day.
The new Big Island brewery is officially the “highest” in Hawaii at 2,764-feet above sea level. It is located on the Hilo side of Waimea town at Cook’s Corner at the intersection of Mamalahoa Highway and Kamamalu Street. (Locals and past Big Island visitors will recognize that location as the site of the former Taco Tako Taqueria restaurant.)
Unfortunately, I’m missing the Big Island Brewhaus event today, but I do plan to stop in this weekend to try the Paniolo Pale Ale and to find out if they have chosen a name for the Irish Stout (lucky for me, the Brewhaus is within walking distance of home!). Tom and Jayne have had a long journey toward their dream of opening the restaurant under the new name and with the brewery fully operational, but their new sign went up early in February and the new beers are now on tap. When you visit the Big Island, stop by and try one of Tom’s creations. The “island-style Mexican” cuisine is good too!
Big Island Brewhaus will officially introduce their new beers at the 16th Annual Kona Brewers Festival from 2:30-6:30 p.m., Sat., March 12, 2011 at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.