Longboard Island Lager

Longboard Island Lager is a beer from the Kona Brewing Co based in Hawaii. However I don’t think the can I possess was brewed in Hawaii, but instead in the US, more about this later. Back to the beer, what is it like?

Longboard Island Lager is a pretty standard lager that doesn’t set itself apart from any other lager. It pours a light gold with a half finger white head. On the nose there is not much going on, just a little malt and a slight citrus too. The taste is pretty much like the nose with a sweet caramel malt being the main flavour. A little citrus pops in, but there is little bitterness to balance the sweet malt. It gets a score of 3.0 out of 5.0.

A little disappointing really, just expected more from this beer, but it doesn’t deliver anything out of the ordinary.

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Longboard Island Lager Review

Both myself and Lou are looking forward to this beer, mainly because the can looks so good. On the 335ml can is a beach scene with palm trees, golden sands, blue sea and and a surfer on a longboard.

It weighs in at 4,6% ABV, so it is a session beer which means it is okay to sink a few in the warm sunshine. I am expecting an easy drinking refreshing lager with something a little different, I don’t know why, but it’s like the can design suggests just that.

It kind of sets you up for a refreshing beer made in Hawaii. Does our high expectation of this beer get crushed when we taste it?

Drinking Longboard Island Lager

Crack open that inviting looking can and pour, it settles to a light golden clear beer with half a finger white top. The beer appears quite lively with medium carbonation, however the head fades quickly and the beer seems to also fade in its carbonation.

On the nose it doesn’t give much away, just a malt body with a hint of citrus in the background.

The taste is a similar story with sweet caramel malt demanding the lion share of the flavour. Just like the nose there is a hint of citrus, maybe lemon. There is no real bitterness to balance the sweet malt, so the whole thing just feels a little too sweet.

In our experience the beer seemed to go a little flat with the carbonation fading away. It is not really a lager that sets itself apart from any other, I guess lager is lager, but I’ve had a lot better.

It is easy drinking, and it does have a bit of body, but other than that, there is not much to it. Just a little too sweet and it gets a rate my beer score of 3.0 out of 5.0.

M’Lady is of similar opinion, saying “I’m a little bit disappointed, it is just a standard lager that is nothing special. It’s not a bad lager, but doesn’t stand out from the crowd. I wanted to drink Hawaii, but didn’t get it.” Lou scores it a higher 3.7 out of 5.0.

As Lou says it is not a bad lager, but just a run of the mill lager that is a little too sweet for me. Maybe I will find a better beer from Kona Brewing Co.

Kona Brewing Co

The brewery was set up off the back of a father and son dream, to brew beer that reflects the spirit of the Aloha lifestyle in Hawaii.

Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa are the father and son partnership and the brewery was set up in 1994 on The Big Island Hawaii. The scene was set for building the Kona Brewing Brand.

Things went well and between 1998 and 2008 the brewery opened three pub/restaurant sites with Hawaii and its islands.

However things do get a little complicated, in 2010 Kona Brewing Co was acquired by Craft Brew Alliance which Anheuser-Busch has an interest in.

So the Kona Brewery brand and beers were also produced in other countries, mainly the US. In 2020 the Kona Brewery in Hawaii became independent again being sold to PV Brewing Partners.

But it was only the Hawaiian brewery, so there seems to be two breweries now making and selling the same beer brands.

PV Brewing Partners make and sell the Kona beer in Hawaii, while Kona is also made elsewhere.

A little studying of the can I have reveals that in fact my can is brewed at Kona either in Portland or Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the US.

So my Longboard Island Lager is an American beer, and not Hawaiian after all.

Kona Beers

Kona Brewing Co Beer Range

So wherever you get Kona beer from, the range is pretty much the same. There is Kona Brewing Hawaii and Kona Brewing Co, both website look similar and have the same beers, although the Hawaiian one seems to have a few more.

The range is not vast, but there are some beers that I would like to try from the Kona brand. The Hawaiian site also has a range of Seltzers too.

Hanalei Island IPA

Hanalei Island IPA is said to be a laid back beer with plenty of tropical flavours such as passionfruit, orange and guava, so it sounds like a juicy fruit experience.

The beer weighs in at a sessionable 4.5% ABV and sounds like a real Hawaiian experience. I am hoping it has a good bitterness for balance against all those tropical flavours.

Fire Rock

Fire Rock is a Hawaiian style pale ale bursting with citrus and floral hop aromas. A crisp refreshing beer made with roasted malts and Cascade, Galena and MT Hood hops.

It is just out of the session bracket with an ABV of 5.5%, so only the one, or two at a push. Fire Rock has been around since the beginning being brewed since 1994, it sounds like a lively pale ale and one I would like to try.

Black Sand

Black Sand is a porter with a bittersweet chocolate flavour, some roasty flavours come from the seven malts used for brewing this beer.

It is said to be a full bodied porter that weighs in at a mighty 6.2% ABV, so its not one for a session. But I am sure one would be enough because it sounds like a deep rich porter, so one will probably be enough.

I’d love to try one though.

Final Thoughts

What started out as a lager from Hawaii, turned out to be a lager from Portland or Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I don’t know if there is any taste difference between the two, but I am not that impressed with Longboard Island lager.

It is an okay lager, but nothing special and a little too sweet for me. The brewery thing is a little confusing, but it is what it is.

If you have had Longboard Island lager, then do share your thoughts below, especially if it was the Hawaiian one. Let me know what you think of it.

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