On Tap in Hawaii: Maui Brewing goes nuts for coconuts
The mighty coconut is a staple food in Polynesia and a local favorite used in dozens of dishes. It is also one of the most popular ingredients used in beers today.
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The mighty coconut is a staple food in Polynesia and a local favorite used in dozens of dishes. It is also one of the most popular ingredients used in beers today. In recent years coconut has become the darling flavor in craft beer, used all over the world in styles from classic dark stouts and porters to IPAs, hefeweizens and even sours.
Coconut flavor, though, wasn’t always a smash hit. In the ‘90s, a few coconut beers used artificial or concentrated flavorings that created a suntan lotion taste. One of the very first breweries to create a beer made with real toasted coconut was Maui Brewing Co. Maui’s now famous Coconut Hiwa Porter showed craft beer drinkers how delicate and delicious real coconut could taste in a beer. As craft brewing grew around the country and around the world, many brewers looked to Coconut Hiwa as inspiration on how to create a delicious coconut beer.
Today Maui Brewing produces a number of coconut beers, including the Imperial Coconut Porter, ICP for short, an amplified version of Hiwa, clocking in at 9% alcohol by volume (compared with Hiwa’s 6% ABV), and loaded with even more coconut flavor.
This year Maui Brewing is releasing four flavor variations of ICP that give local coconut beer fans even more decadent goodness. Each version uses the base Imperial Coconut Porter recipe, then adds new and exciting flavors. (Prices are for 750-millileter bottles.)
>> ICP Coco Bean: Brewed with Manoa Chocolate cacao nibs and Maui vanilla beans. Deep and rich chocolate notes, like melting chocolate for s’mores, with a marshmallow-like vanilla note toward the finish. All layered with an intense macaroon coconut taste. Available now, 23-$24.
>> ICP Flat White: Brewed with Sumatra Tano Batak and Peru el Puno coffee beans, locally roasted by Origin Coffee Roasters, and lactose. This is a coconut and coffee dream pairing. Dark, heavy roasted espresso, mild baking chocolate and smooth whipped creaminess blend together here. Available now, $23-$24.
>> ICP Dolce: Brewed with vanilla, caramel flavoring and salt. A cross between dolce de leche and creme brulee, with lots of pungent vanilla bean notes, caramel sweetness and warm baked coconut. Sweet all the way through, making this a perfect dessert pairing. Available now, $23-$24.
>> ICP Haupia Malasada: Brewed with malasadas from Donut Dynamite, coconut sugar and coconut flour. Two local favorites are mashed together into a beer. Yes, the brewers are using real malasadas and an immense amount of coconut. Available late November, $23-$24.
>> Black Pearl: The granddaddy of all ICPs, aged in used rum and bourbon barrels for more than a year to impart a rich oak, caramel and rum sweetness into the beer. As a result of the barrel aging, the alcohol percentage increases all the way to 12.2% ABV. This is a limited release (only the second time ever in bottles). Available now, $25-$26.
Tim Golden, a certified cicerone, shares his obsession with all things craft beer on the third week of each month. He is part owner of Village Bottle Shop in Kakaako.