Island of Domination: Maui Brewing Company

There is no metal on Maui. We looked. The most metal thing we found was the lumbering, acrid smoke-belching Sugar Cane Train that Saxon will no doubt write a song about on their upcoming 57th album, which is going to be a concept record dedicated to various forms of transportation. (Also set for inclusion are “Filth ‘Hound of Hoboken,” their paean to riding the Greyhound across America, and “Kayaking on the River Styx.”)

There’s something about the sun, sand and surf on this South Pacific island that inspires decidedly more genteel sounds. Sure you’ll find no shortage of dudes strumming ukeles—electric ones even—but apparently palm muting and arpeggio sweeps just haven’t caught on yet with the locals. They’ve got grim-looking tiki gods and everything. Just no metal.

There is, however, great local craft beer to be had. Which, in the absence of great local metal, is a welcome thing to find. We’re of the opinion that one should never be too far from a good source of craft beer, wherever you are, so discovering Maui Brewing Company was an epiphany.

There are other “local” beers available on Maui, but these are, ironically, brewed on the mainland and shipped all the way over to the island. Beware of false brews. If it doesn’t say “Maui Brewing Company” on it, it wasn’t made on Maui. This we can assure you is the truth.

We had Maui Brewing Co.’s Big Swell IPA on tap at local restaurants. We bought 6-packs of their Bikini Blonde Lager, Coconut Porter and Hana Wheat in the stores. Next stop, the brewpub, where all these brews, plus about a dozen more original creations awaited.

The mini-mall setting at Kahana Gateway seemed awkward from the outside, but once inside, it felt like our own local back home. Comfortable. A celebration of all things beery. So, yeah, there’s no grim, frost-bitten metal on Maui, but this brewpub had a gloriously frost-laden strip along the entirety of the U-shaped bar on which you could rest your beer to keep it cold. Genius.

Our bartender, Joel, led us through the wide array of beers brewed on the premises and didn’t steer us wrong once. Favorite stops along the way included the Dawn Patrol Black IPA, the Black Rock Lager and the well-hopped Pueo Pale Ale. The selection changes seasonally—though there’s always the standard house lineup—so new brews are getting swapped in and out as brewmaster Kim Lutz creates them.

Once hipped to Maui Brewing Co.’s presence on the island no other beer touched our lips during our stay. Craft beer is best when it’s fresh, and considering Maui’s remote location, there’s no easy way to get truly fresh beer there, unless it’s island made. Locals (and visitors) are lucky that owners Garrett Marrero and his wife Melanie Oxley brought their vision for truly locally made brews to the island seven years ago. Because not only does Maui have island-made craft beer, it’s really good craft beer.