Aloha, Nick Sheehan again, reporting from the perpetually sunny Colorado. Today I will be telling you about a kick ass beer from a little brewery in the middle of the Pacific.
It’s a beautiful Friday morning. I’m currently sitting in my childhood best friend’s home in Telluride, Colorado looking out onto the most incredible mountain landscape I’ve ever seen.
Life is pretty damn rad right now, and to make things even better, I’m sipping on a Pueo Pale Ale from one of my favorite breweries in the world, Maui Brewing Company!
Before I give you the details on this perfect pale ale, let’s do a quick brewery background for those who don’t know Maui Brewing. This brewery first came into the craft beer scene in 2005. Founded, owned, and operated by the husband and wife duo of Garrett Marrero and Melanie Oxley. Garrett, who originally hails from the sunny beer mecca of San Diego, immediately observed the void of Hawaiian craft beer available in the Islands. He and Melanie got to work and quickly made a name for themselves as a TRUE Hawaiian brewery. Showcasing real local ingredients, Island inspired brews and most importantly, 100% Hawaiian brewing.
Beers like the Coconut Hiwa, their famous Coconut Porter that drinks like a tropical beer milkshake, and the Pineapple Mana, a wheat beer brewed with Hawaiian pineapple that is so tasty, it even has the gnarliest IPA drinkers sneaking a few on the beach. Maui really showed that you can produce a clean, high quality beer with tons of flavor and complexity at an extremely reasonable price. In addition to Maui’s dedication to great beer, it’s clear their success also stems from their dedication to smart, responsible business. They’ve been awarded numerous small business awards that have helped their growth, but unlike many small businesses with big dreams, Maui didn’t lose sight or sacrifice one of the most important aspects of their business, and that is their kuleana (responsibility) to the environment.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Maui’s brewery ecosystem and the life-cycle of my 12 oz can of Pueo Pale Ale. It starts in Hawaii by finding responsible sources of local ingredients. While much of the flavors in Maui beers are sourced locally, the Hawaiian Islands are limited in their production of the other key ingredients to beer making like: hops and grains. So as not to sacrifice quality, Maui sources the best hops and grains from around the Pacific rim and abroad. This is only one of few compromises necessary for brewing beer in Hawaii and to help mitigate import impact, Maui offers wholesale rates on these ingredients so local home brewers don’t have to ship in their own. Further more, Maui then hands off their spent grain to local farmers who use it for compost and to feed their animals, crops and animals that in turn feed the Islands and brew pubs.
MMMM…. malty Maui beef burgers anyone? Veggie burgers?
Canning comes next. All of Maui’s cans are manufactured locally on Oahu and are important to Maui Brewing for many reasons. Not only because they can be sourced locally but, contrary to popular belief, they hold the beer’s flavor better. Light that penetrates glass bottles can alter the beer’s original taste by activating “sleepy” yeast. For a beer, this is called “light struck.” Beers can become “light stuck” after 30 seconds! Brown bottles? Two minutes!
Green bottles? Bruh…if can, always can.
If you’ve ever popped open a cold bottled beer and you smell rubber, that is due to a high concentration of mercaptans or thiol, caused by the oxygen in the bottle dissolving. Outside of taste, cans also transport more safely without the risk of shattering. Which makes the can great for hiking, camping, beaches, and don’t believe the hype about cans giving beer a metallic taste, that’s just propaganda.
Now here’s where being located in Hawaii balances the brewery sustainability equation. Maui Brewing Company’s facility in Kihei uses renewable and sustainable energy sources to power their facility. That’s everything from the computers to the canning line. They’re just finishing the installation of PV panels on their roof with a goal of being 100% off the grid by the end of the year! Beer that’s literally brewed with that Hawaiian ALOHA.
Maui strives to be authentic. There is no bullsh*t with them. This beer is made in Hawaii by people that live in Hawaii, unlike other “local” breweries that want you to believe that their product is made in the islands. Yes, it’s a lot more expensive to brew beer in the islands but that isn’t the point. Money is not the driving factor at Maui Brewing, it’s love and passion. Love and passion that I feel that, you can taste in the product.
And, right now, I feel this Pueo Pale Ale has a ton of passion behind it.
If you haven’t had this beer yet, you’re really not spending your time wisely. She won’t be around for that much longer. Pueo (Hawaiian for owl) is a classic American Pale Ale. It has a beautiful tropical hop aroma, pineapple, light citrus, and mountain apples. The palate is so clean. Fantastic balance of malt sweetness and alpha acids. At 5.6% ABV and 62 IBUs, it drinks like a dream.
Maui Brewing Company is a brewery that I personally have always just been drawn to. I pretty much always have a few cans from them in my fridge at all times. Hell, Big Swell IPA was one of my two epiphany beers. I had no idea beer could taste like that. Thank you to Maui for producing beer that accurately represents my home and the flavors I love.
NICK SHEEHAN is a pale faced devil who hails from Oahu. On his 21st birthday, he didn’t follow the traditional route of slamming pitchers of “Adios Mother F*ckers” and getting penises drawn on his forehead. Rather, Nick went fine wine tasting in Napa where he was offered numerous jobs to help run tasting rooms. He then realized wine was too pretentious and turned his passion and palette to craft beer. He has since developed numerous beer menus, created beer clubs and works within Colorado’s craft beer industry. He is an asshole but dammit, we respect him.