The Drink Of The Weekend: Kona Brewing Co. Kanaha Blonde Ale

As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our erratically scheduled segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.

I am a sucker for a a lot of things.

If I go out to a nice restaurant and there is halibut on the menu, then there will be halibut on my plate. Unless I’m at a steakhouse. Then it’s a ribeye, rare, please.

I have a soft spot for classic power pop. If Sweet’s “Fox On The Run” comes on, just cover your ears because I’m taking over the lead on that one. Cheap Trick.Todd Rundgren. Fountains Of Wayne. It’s all good. And if you think there has ever been a better song written than Big Star’s “September Gurls,” I will fight you.

My movie taste are pretty varied, too. But ask anyone who knows me what my all-time favorite is and you will get two words in response: “Apocalypse Now”. Charlie don’t surf. Not when Robert Duvall is leading an air cavalry assault, he doesn’t.

I know there are probably a hundred more things I could add to my “Soft Spot” list, but lately, there is something that hits that spot more than anything else:

Hawaii.

It’s almost a joke in my home how much I love Hawaii. When my wife and I used to make vacation plans, she would often suggest Hawaii. I would counter with something along the lines of, “Welllllll…Hawaii’s OK, I guess…” And then we would be off to some second-banana level locale. Like Paris.

It wasn’t like I had anything against Hawaii. I just felt that it was “America” and we should try visiting some international destinations, first, and especially before we had kids and they sucked up most of our travel budget and any other discretionary income we had.

But, my wife, who had been to Hawaii on multiple occasions as a child, and once not long before we met, finally convinced me to go. And it wasn’t your typical trip to Hawaii. We not only took our 18-month-old daughter with us, but also my almost-70-year-old mom, too. Oh, and my wife was six-months pregnant with our second daughter, too. So, yeah, it was quite the adventure.

We made that initial visit to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai back in 2010. And that was all she wrote. Since then, we have been back to Kauai once, and have visited the Big Island of Hawaii twice. Whenever my wife and I discuss vacation plans now, the conversation usually goes like this:

My Wife: So, do we want to go Hawaii this fall?

Me: Do you really need to ask?

Hawaii is awesome, and I have become a total sucker for everything about it. Snorkeling. Drinking Mai Tais. Going to a luau and drinking Mai Tais. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. If it’s “Hawaiian”, then count me in. Even back on the Mainland, I dive into anything Hawaiian I can get my hands on. That might be lunch at the local Hawaiian barbecue joint, or drinking one of Kona Brewing Co.’s ice cold beers while watching my Beloved Hometown Seattle Seahawks.

And during our two visits to the Big Island, I have made it a point that we visit Kona Brewing Co. for lunch, and more importantly, sample several of their offerings that we can’t find here on the Mainland. For me, one of the best things about traveling anywhere is discovering what the locals like to drink, especially if it’s something that isn’t available back home. Hey, I love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and recommend it to anyone who wants a beer that no one ever complains about. But, if I’m out of town, I want something I haven’t tried before. And Kona Brewing let me do that in spades.

Now, Kona Brewing beers are not impossible to find here in California, or many other states. Longboard Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale, Big Wave Golden Ale and Castaway IPA are a few of the Kona beers available on the Mainland. And there is nothing at all wrong with those brews here, or on Hawaii itself. But, you fly 2,500 miles to Hawaii to do things that you can’t do at home. And in my opinion, that includes drinking beers unavailable at your local bar (or grocery store). Which is why I chose to fill my flight with four beers that I had never drank before, and as far as I knew, might never show up anywhere beyond the Hawaiian Islands. And once I polished off those four, I ordered up a glass of Kona’s Kanaha Blonde Ale.

(Fun Hawaii Fact: You are not allowed to have more than 20 ounces of beer in front of you at any one time when you are in a bar. I found this out when I tried to order a beer flight and a glass of beer at the same time. The waiter told me I would have to finish off most of my flight before I could have something else. The moral of the story: Hawaii wants you to take your time getting drunk.)

Kanaha Blonde is a light ale named after a famous kitesurfing spot on Maui. I have never kitesurfed and don’t have any plans to. At my stage in life, I’m pretty sure that if I even managed to get myself upright on a kiteboard I would remain there for no more than 1.5 seconds before I faceplanted right into the ocean. But, I know I can easily raise a bottle of beer and the Kanaha Blonde Ale is a fine enough beer to raise.

And your don’t have to fly to Hawaii to have a Kanaha, either. In its quest to convert more of us to its products, Kona Brewing has just brought Kanaha to the Mainland. I’d heard the beer was on its way, and it was during a brief Thanksgiving Day pit stop at a local Safeway that I came across Kanaha here for the first time. The guy in line ahead of me noticed my purchase and we were soon talking about various Kona beers and our various trips to Hawaii. Beer really is the great equalizer.

At just 4.2% ABV, Kanaha is not nearly as strong as most beers I like. But, it has just a hint of happiness to let you know it’s not a weakling like Coors Light. I have to admit that I was a little wary about how the label said the ale had “tropical mango added.” I don’t have anything against mangoes, but I’m not really into my beer tasting like them. However, sometimes you have to dance with who you came with, and besides, I was willing to give the mangoes a pass as this was a Hawaiian beer, after all.

I needn’t have worried. The mango taste was barely noticeable. I knew I was drinking a beer and not some kind of fruit-juice cocktail. With winter almost here, Kanaha is a beer made for easy drinking while watching football games. And it’s light enough to get the job done when summer rolls around, too.

And for someone who’s a sucker for All Things Hawaiian, Kona Brewing has made me a sucker for Kanaha Blonde Ale. Before I had finished my first six pack, I was back at Safeway buying another.

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