At the corner where Kalakaua Avenue and Ala Moana Boulevard meet, pints of perfectly poured malts clink together in celebration of the 96815's first and only microbrewery, Waikiki Brewing Company. With their inaugural batch bubbling up in the bright and shiny new tanks just a few short months ago, Waikiki Brewing Co.’s hop-adorned taps now flow with everything from pale ales to porters to tasty signature brews like the peppery Jalapeno Mouth, a perfectly executed Amber Ale infused with just enough fresh jalapeno to keep your taste buds intrigued and craving another sip.
On a sunny Saturday morning, we caught up with Joe Lorenzen, one of the owners, and the idea man behind the brewery, to talk hops, yeasts, milling, mashing and brewing as their Wailele Wheat, a refreshing single hop American Wheat, boiled to life before our very eyes. Joe's story is genuine and inspiring. An at home brewing hobbyist turned Brewmaster via extensive certification coursework with the American Brewers Guild, he presented the idea to his then boss/now business partner to open a brewery in the unused space of the restaurant he managed in Waikiki. After a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and beers, Joe’s dream for the 7-barrel brewhouse was made reality. During our visit, Joe’s eyes lit up with excitement as he explained every aspect of both the creative and technical processes involved in creating the brews currently on rotation. His passion for his craft is palatable in every sip.
Every guest has a front-row seat to the action as the brewery itself is only about 5 feet behind the bar top where any inquiring guest can enjoy brewing masterminds Joe, Nate and Eric eagerly explain the whole brewing process, from grain to glass. For a refreshing Waikiki experience, grab a handcrafted brew, beer cocktail or some brew-inspired “grinds” with your nearest and dearest under twinkling café lights and the Hawaiian stars. Cheers, Waikiki Brewing Company, and welcome to the 96815!
The 96815 Tip: I recommend the refreshing Blonde Ale after a long hot Waikiki beach day or the Double E. IIPA, if you need something a little more direct to take the edge off!
Waikiki Brewing Company, 11am - 11pm Daily, ph: 808-946-6590, 1945 Kalakaua Ave, the 96815.
Jess in the96815
Guest Post and Photography by: Jessica Tronoski