The Pitch: Is there a beer that you would recommend to those unfamiliar with Kona, for them to get a sense of your brewery?
Davis: Longboard Island Lager is our flagship beer, and medalwise it's the most decorated Kona brew in our portfolio. It's also usually craft-beer drinkers' first taste of liquid aloha. Longboard Lager is a great session beer and goes down extra easy on a hot day.
Second to Longboard would be Big Wave Golden Ale for a beer that really sums up the Hawaiian experience. For ale lovers, this beer has pronounced citrus notes and has won over locals in Hawaii since we first began brewing it. Travelers to Hawaii loved it so much that they often requested it upon their return, and this summer we made it available year-round on the mainland.
We have a lot of barbecue here in Kansas City. Any recommendations on pairing smoked meats (brisket, pork, ribs) with your beers?
Easy. Koko Brown Ale is excellent with smoked meats and cheeses. We serve it in Hawaii with Kalua pork and spare ribs at our restaurants and pubs.
Do you have a sense of the Midwest drinkers or why Kona might
appeal to them?
We have similar values when it comes to family and family gatherings around food and drink in Hawaii. We hope this will come through as Midwesterners become more familiar with Kona. Many Midwesterners have traveled to Hawaii, where they have likely had their first taste of Kona beer. Tastewise, Midwesterners have a sophisticated palate for handcrafted beers. Our brewers' use of tropically inspired ingredients like toasted coconut, 100 percent Kona coffee, and passion fruit gives our beers a taste that's not often found in colder climates.