Kona Koko Brown
After penning a treatise on the merits of local beer, I found myself torn over buying a Kona Brewing Company product. Though they are US-based, of course, Kona, HI, is further from Philadelphia than Brussels, Dublin or even Prague, so all the same downsides to drinking imported beer would seem to apply.
Still, the idea of a Brown Ale brewed with real coconut was too intriguing to ignore, thus I found myself reading the label while browsing the Wegmans beer aisle. In tiny print, turned sideways, just barely noticable, was my clincher: “Brewed in Portsmouth, NH”.
Turns out that Kona contracts with both Widmer Brewery in Oregon and Redhook in New Hampshire, in order to provide fresher beer and limit the environmental impact of distribution to the mainland. Contract brewing is a somewhat controversial topic in the beer world these days, but Kona appears to take every precaution towards quality, even adjusting the water mineral levels at each brewery to better approximate the Hawaii h2o.
The Koko Brown itself is an interesting juxtaposition. From a brown ale standpoint, it’s robust and roasty, more like a fall or winter-style brown, but the intense coconut note that rounds out every gulp gives it a fresh finish reminiscent of the beach. This beer is certainly not for everyone; while some might judge the flavor combinations as unique and refreshing, others might assume they accidentally spilled some Banana Boat in their mug.