In the Mix

Food & Wine honors Oahu nanobrewery

December 14th, 2015

You’re not alone if you were left scratching your head over Hawaii’s representative in Food & Wine magazine’s list of “50 Amazing Nanobreweries in 50 States” released this week, which honors breweries that produce less than 500 barrels of product per year.

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Palolo Valley Brewing Company and its owner/brewmaster Jeremyah Wubben was recognized for using locally sourced ingredients. A look at the brewery’s website shows an ambitious list of nine beers, ranging from the Shaka Therapy (Hawaiian-style pale ale made with two types of malt), 16th Ave. Session (made with wild Hawaiian yeast and all-local ingredients) and Kalo Ale (made with freshly pounded poi), to the Undercurrent IPA (made with hops from Japan, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest with fresh hibiscus) and the Maluhia Mead (sweet mead made with Hawaiian honey, cinnamon and vanilla).

“We’re not big like the other guys,” Wubben said on Monday. “We just do our own thing.”

Unfortunately, Wubben has yet to get the chance to prove to the general public how good his beers can be. After launching the business in 2014 and embarking on a promotional campaign to build awareness for his brand, Palolo Valley Brewing took an almost immediate hit after a deal to open a brewery and tap room in the Lotus Waikiki fell apart.

“We’re looking for a spot to relocate everything,” the 31-year-old Colorado native said. “We’re looking at finalizing a new location in February. We’re coming back within the next year.

“Hawaii’s an expensive place to work in and it just takes a while. We’ve got to get all the permits and everything.”

Until Palolo Valley Brewing Company can get back on its feet, local beer drinkers have a few other options for locally produced craft beer. Honolulu Beer Works at 328 Cooke Street serves more than 10 different types of beer, plus a few more limited releases throughout the year. Out on Oahu’s Windward side, Lanikai Brewing Company started producing a porter and IPA in February and opens its doors to the public for tastings and tours every weekend at 175 Hamakua Drive.

And at The Brewseum, 901 Waimanu Street, the Tomlinson family is now selling beer made on-premises instead of contracting with others to produce their products. The only place the general public can try their Pilot Pale Ale and other limited offerings will be at The Brewseum and Home of the Brave Museum bar.

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Jason Genegabus has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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