Gettin' Lei-ed

Brewery and Country of Origin: Kona Brewing Company of 75-5629 Kuakini Highway, Kailua Kona, Hawaii, 96740-1664, USA

Date Reviewed: 9-22-12

Though it would seem reasonable to most that Hawaii isn't much of a festive fall experience, or anything close to British culture, Kona has decided to embrace a tradition by offering a malty brown ale as a part of their Aloha Series. The Cocos Nucifera, or coconut palm, is a tree found in tropic and sub tropic regions of the world. The fruit, however, is not actually a nut. It is a drupe, a kind of seed with the flesh mostly on the outside (rather than in the middle), and a single siid contained within. And as we all know, these big, heavy fruits can be very useful as food, drinks (coconut water and milk), bowls, chemicals, medicine, and of course, bras. Interestingly enough, when the Big Island brewery makes a reference to this coconut injected beer's "Nut Brown" style, they actually refer to the fruit as a nut, and thanks to this very short lecture, you know this isn't correct. Still, a Hawaiian brewery knows it can't make a normal beer out of normal ingredients. And when you know how important coconuts are in Hawaii, that is when things start to make sense. Leave it to the Hawaiians to do away with tradition by injecting a bit of their own. This beer is in fact brewed with toasted coconut, giving it a sweet and roasted flavor to match a style defined by a more malty character, but more importantly, the brewers really wanted to make sure you knew where this beer came from.
Date Sampled: 9-07-12 At: 223 Summer Street, Somverville, MA, 02143, USA
Beer Style: American Brown Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 5.50%
Serving Type: 12 oz Bottle, 14 oz Sam Adams Glass
Rating: 2.44


The Koko pours smoothly with a nice dark amber color, and medium light carbonation action, giving it a short lived, but thick and dense foam head. This beer's clear appearance gives it a prominent shine when held up to the light. There is an average amount of lacing.


The smell of this beer is full of clove and coriander, giving it an almost spicy or herbal character, supplemented with some lighter vanilla flavor and pale malts. There is a small amount of fruity banana like aroma detectable as well.


This is a lighter, easy drinking beer with some substance to be acknowledged. It is light medium bodied with a low viscosity, low weight, and a just below average level of carbonation, making it smooth, yet still slightly crisp toward the finish.


This brown ale begins with a typical malty and mostly sweet flavor, then mellowing out as some of the vanilla and caramel malt takes over, and finally finishing with a slightly bitter, somewhat lingering aftertaste. There are no really prominent flavors over the course of this beer.

Our Take

Yes, this is a beer which essentially pays a slight homage to the British nut brown style. What's more, they have still made this a "cold weather" beer which is only sold during the winter and early spring seasons. Of course, when you are kicking it back in paradise, we'd take the advice of Kona, and save this one for after a day at the beach... not while you're basking. This is not a refreshing beer, so you aren't going to enjoy it unless the air outside is as crisp as this brew is dull. Though the idea of a Hawaiian nut brown (featuring a coconut... how cute) has potential, it sadly doesn't come from the island chain's most prolific brewery. Though, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Fortunately for any other brewers in the state interested in bringing the coconut to the brewing world, this opens up the gate of opportunity: to create a beer with that unmistakable Hawaiian flair that even the most obese, obnoxious, picture taking, loud mouthed, ignorant tourist would appreciate... oh wait.