After opening its successful brewpub at Kalakaua Avenue and Ala Moana Boulevard, the “crossroads of Waikiki,” the Waikiki Brewing Company has expanded its operation to a new, larger brewing facility and brewpub in Kakaako. It’s one of dozens of new businesses that are remaking Kakaako from an industrial area into a residential and commercial urban oasis.
Waikiki Brewing’s original location remains a popular destination for visitor and resident brew enthusiasts alike, and the new location is following a winning formula on a larger scale. Part of that larger scale means more byproduct, or “mash,” from the brewing process. That is the spent grain left behind as wheat, barley, and hops become beer. Waikiki Brewing’s spent grain isn’t simply tossed away as garbage. Rather, it is re-purposed to Oahu ranchers as feed for livestock.
“We are always looking to keep it local,” says General Manager Andy Flartey. Of course, ingredients like hops, barley and wheat have to be brought in (in Waikiki Brewing’s case, from the Pacific Northwest), but locally-sourced ingredients are key to the unique characters of the brewery’s products. Chocolate, lemon grass, honey, coffee: Waikiki Brewing uses a variety of Hawaii-grown products in the brews they make.
“We try to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible,” says Flartey. As part of that effort, Waikiki Brewing uses aluminum cans manufactured on Oahu, and its six-pack holders are made from 98% recycled content. And those holders won’t strangle any sea life.
The brewery even uses oak barrels from Ko Hana Rum (also an Oahu-made product) during the aging process, adding yet another facet to the flavor profile of its nationally acclaimed brews. Waikiki Brewing’s Black Strap Molasses Porter is the 2017 Silver Medal winner of the Great American Beer Festival in its category, beating out dozens of other entries from breweries across the United States.
And although the brews alone are worth a visit, Waikiki Brewing’s Kakaako location also offers a sumptuous food menu, courtesy of a large kiawe (mesquite) smoker out back that makes down home barbeque that pairs perfectly with the brews on offer. Chef Nick Stewart made his name at famous restaurants in Waikiki and on Maui. Waikiki Brewing’s food truck just steps from the smoker is there for those on the go. And the Sunday brunch there is quietly becoming a Kakaako institution for residents that live or work in the area.
Visitors can select a mix-and-match six pack or growlers to go, or beer flights that explore the range of flavors Waikiki Brewing offers, from the light and airy Aloha Spirit Blonde Ale to its award-winning Black Strap Porter. There are more than 14 varieties that the brewery produces, with at least nine of them available on tap at the Kakaako location at any time. The selection varies seasonally, based on the availability of the locally-grown ingredients used in the brewing process.
In addition to its two Oahu locations, Waikiki Brewing’s selections are available in cans in stores throughout Hawaii.
For a closer look at the inner workings of one of Hawaii’s most successful breweries, simply ask your server if a tour is available. Waikiki Brewing doesn’t take reservations for tours, but welcomes visitors into the actual brewing area whenever possible.
“We try to never turn away someone who’d like to see the operation up close,” says General Manager Flartey.
Visit www.waikikibrewing.com for more information about the new Kakaako location and the brewpubs beer and food menus.
Posted by: Jamie Winpenny