Kona Brewing Company to Kansas City

2013 is right around the corner, and the new year will quickly bring us some new breweries bringing their beer into the Kansas City market. The first of these is Kona Brewing Company out of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Kona, the 13th largest craft brewery in the country, announced their 2013 Midwest expansion earlier this month, and it looks like their beers will start hitting shelves in Missouri the week of January 7th. Right off the bat, Missouri will be receiving Kona's full year-round lineup, as well as all of the seasonal 'Aloha Series' beers that they currently offer, both in bottles and on tap.

I had the opportunity to try a few of these brews recently to see what kind of beer would be headed our way. The first of these was their flagship Longboard Island Lager. Now I'll be the first to admit, pale lagers typically don't do much for me, so I may have mentally jinxed myself before trying this beer. Nothing about it was bad by any means; it was well-balanced, crisp, and there was nothing offensive about the flavor. It's just not something I would actively seek out. That being said, I could see Longboard serving as a good craft transition/upgrade beer for people who are used to the standard BMC adjunct lager offerings.

The next beer I tried was the Big Wave Golden Ale. Again, reading Golden Ale, I went into this not expecting to be overly impressed, but this beer ended up being a very pleasant surprise. Easy-drinking, refreshing and a nice touch of bright, tropical/citrus flavors thanks to being brewed with a dose of Galaxy hops. All I could think was how much I wish it was canned, because it would be a perfect beer for the pool or tailgating in the summer (there may be hope, my research tells me that they had planned to can Longboard at some point...).

The last beer I was able to taste was the Koko Brown, which as you probably could have guessed, is a brown ale brewed with coconut. Full disclosure: I'm a coconut freak. I love the stuff. So I was very excited to try this. To me, it didn't disappoint. A nutty, toasted flavor with just enough sweetness to not be overpowering (no Southern Tier Creme Brulee-style) coffee creamer taste here). My coconut-loving palate was definitely satisfied. This is the Winter/Spring seasonal offering from Kona, so you should expect to see this when their beer first arrives in Missouri.

Overall, I was satisfied with the Kona beers that I was able to sample. Is their lineup going to blow your mind or change the world of brewing? No, probably not. But, from what I can tell, they offer a solid series of sessionable beers that cover a variety of styles, and as I mentioned before, could be perfect introductory beers for those new to the craft beer world. Other beers you can expect to see are their Fire Rock Pale Ale, Pipeline Porter and Wailua Wheat.

Once January 7th hits, keep your eyes and ears open to see where Kona Brewing Company beers will be hitting in Kansas City. Obviously, my opinions above only mean so much, so give their offerings a try yourself and see what you think!

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