#12 Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing, Maui, Hawaii
State: The paradise-like group of Pacific islands President Eisenhower made our 50th state in 1959, just two years before our President, Barack Obama, was born in the capital city of Honolulu in 1961.
Brewery: Maui Brewing Co., founded by Melanie Oxley and brewmaster Garrett Marrero, began “handcrafting ales and lagers brewed with aloha” in 2006. The core canned brands are available on the Mainland, but hula your way into the brewpub in Lahaina and enjoy a cold one, kept frosty on the frozen bar.
Beer: Maui incorporates lots of Hawaiian terroir in its beers. Coconut Porter is brewed with 200 pounds of house-toasted flaked coconuts per 25-barrel batch, put into a porter base that’s still more roasty and chocolaty than coco-nutty. It garnered my highest score of the day, 93 out of 100.
Difficulty of obtaining in Oregon: Easier than riding a pipeline since it’s available in the canned craft section all over town.
Average score: 71.66
Maui Brewing knows how to use the Hawaiian terroir for beers like Mac Nut Brown, using the world’s most delicous nuts, and Onion Mild, made with caramelized sweet Maui onions, both pub exclusives. But the marriage of chocolaty porter and toasted coconuts makes this one of my East Coast buddy’s most desirable beers even far, far from the (is)land(s) of rainbows. Coconuts, technically, are not nuts at all, but drupes. Brewmaster Marrero suggests it “pairs well with rich meat dishes like osso buco, coq au vin…and burgers.” But of course it makes for a great ice cream float.
Coconut beers might deserve their own style class someday. Based on his affinity for all things Hawaiian, San Diego homebrewer extraordinaire Ken Schmidt concocted a coconut, macadamia nut, Kona coffee Porter that won a local American Homebrewers Association contest and was created collaboratively by Schmidt, Marrero, and Stone Brewing. The result is considered by some to be one of the best beers ever made but it’s doubtful they’ll ever make it again, either over or under the rainbow.