I thought I could be doing a "Beer By the Grill" feature this weekend, but drat it if it's not still winter. And I've got a big ham just aching for some grill marks and pineapple. Well, these have been sent to me by the brewer's people for review, and I want to get to them while they're still fresh.
I have two beers here sent by Kona Brewing of Hawaii, though the mainland brands are brewed in Portland, OR or Portsmouth, NH. I've previously had a few of these, especially after the brewery's president, Mattson Davis. And here are two of their latest releases:
Kanaha Blond Ale is a light session blond ale, whose label boasts of its 99 calories. It also has mango added for a "juicy, tropical flavor." 4.2% abv.
The pour is very light, like a "lawnmower" beer, filtered to straw colored clarity. Mango predominates the smell completely; this is not the mango impression of a fancy hop variety, but full on juice. The taste is again, fruity with mango. But while I never cared for mango before, this is not a strong flavor, keeping the taste enjoyable. There's the backing of a light ale behind it, and though I cannot pick out any hops, there's a nice dry finish, leaving a bit of mango taste but no sugar on the lips. This will be nice to have out on the porch… once it stops snowing.
Koko Brown is a brown ale, 5.5%, brewed with toasted coconut. It pours a big smooth tan head. The smell is kind of slight, just a note of roasty malt at first, and a deep brown body. As the foam dwindles, the smell becomes more noticeable, with some sweetness wafting noseward. That taste starts out as a straight brown ale, with barely much hop. Coconut only comes through slowly, building to a clear addition of coconut water, which is sweet in itself, but not sugary. The taste is different, but in subtle ways that build up on you.