There’s a generally accepted adage that beautiful, warm places have shitty beer. I can think of a few exceptions to this rule (San Diego, mostly) and I can also think of a few places that thoroughly confirm it (Puerto Rico, all of Portugal, most of Spain, etc.). Hawaii, a place I’ve never been but have a thorough desire to check out, seems to also be an exception. My brother and sister-in-law recently returned from an epic trip around the islands and brought me back not a flower necklace, a coconut monkey, or a dancing hula girl sculpture — they returned with gifts of beer. Craft beer — in a can.
Maui Brewing Company has a nice reputation on the west coast for creating a nice variety of canned beer, the most famous of which is the Coconut Porter that I was lucky enough to get a 4 pack of. Not having ever had any coconut beers, I didn’t know what to expect, and after reading about how the oils and proteins in coconut can be destructive to head retention and mouth feel, I was even more intrigued. After killing two cans in about 30 minutes tonight, however, I’m ready to set all preconceived notions aside, and if you don’t hear from me for a few weeks, you might just assume I’m holing up in Maui swilling this stuff like it’s my job.
Coconut Porter pours a deep black with a large tan crackling head. Immediately upon pouring the beer, chocolate, roast coffee, and coconut flavors pour out. It’s interesting that this beer would be popular in someplace warm, but hey, craft beer drinkers are an adventurous bunch, and Coconut Porter finishes clean and dry enough to dismiss most people’s notions that “dark beer is heavy beer.” The same elements that come through in the nose come through on the palate as well, a nice range of chocolates, bitter grains, and a light hint of coconut. Perfect in body, sessionable in ABV at less than 6%, and therefore eminently drinkable, Coconut Porter combines the classic elements of a Porter with an ingenious use of indigenous ingredients that just makes me really fucking happy. I’m glad I have two cans left, but I’m sure they won’t last long.