We’ve been home from Hawaii exactly a week as we record this. It feels oh so much longer than that. In the second of several of our Hawaii vacation episodes, tonight Amy and I will discuss our eclectic alcohol experiences while spending on the week on big island.
In life, we have two choices, to experience or to exist. Every week, each of us makes that choice to either seek a better way to live or to get by. walk alongside me each week on the strive seek find podcast as we continue to seek our own brilliant future. The old saying is when in Rome, do as the Romans do so, while in Hawaii, on the other hand, don't do what the tourists do. Well, maybe a bit. Welcome to strive, seek find podcast. I'm your host, Chance Whitmore. We've been home for a while, exactly a week as we record this. And it feels Oh, so much longer than that. And the second several of our Hawaiian vacation episodes tonight, Amy and I will be discussing our eclectic alcohol experiences. after, spending a week on the Big Island. Welcome back, dear. When you say an eclectic experience that does that does sound correct. Please note, it was with great caution. We selected each of these because my god sometimes the prices were off the chain. Yeah, it's, it does make you set back a little bit when you have to pay $15 for a cocktail. So today, we're gonna discuss our stops off at the wellknown Kona brewing, Ola brewing, volcano winery, Hawaii. The 12th Hawaiian distillery excuse me, the 12th Hawaii distillery. And how do you say the last one yearKulena Rum Shack Now let's get started. All right. Our first stop on the first day of the trip was probably the most famous of the Hawaiian breweries outside of the islands. And yet, it occurred on our first full day on the island, a time of energy and excitement. Kona Brewing home of Longboard, and Big wave among many others. Amy, what was your experience at Kona? Well, we had just spent the morning at a farmers market and it was humid and sunny and sweltering chance. And I had got up that morning and had gone for a walk. And we're like, oh, we don't need a water bottle. We don't need sunscreen. We're just going to go for a walk and just check things out. We can go check out the beach. I think we're gone 20 minutes and we came back and we said yeah, we need water and we need sunscreen. And so by the time we made it to Kona I really was I was desperately thirsty. And so I ordered the most fantastic lemonade is a ginger lemonade. It was a ginger aid. It'll be something I'll have to recreate around here. And I will not drink because of the ingredient of ginger. But I'm sure it was delicious. I on the other hand, went for the tasters. And I'm going to say it was a really solid experience I had. And I'm going to thank my friends that developed the app. I'm going to call them friends because I make use the app all the time untapped because without this, I would not have been keeping track of these beers at all. The tasters we had was the lava man read the lemon grass Luau it was a spiced beer, but Koko brown and white, white label wheat. I just butchered that. My apologies. Now, experience wise, all solid beers. I should have picked, skip the red and pick something else because I discovered after I'd had it that I had probably seen it around Boise. But the only one of these I was desperately looking forward to finding a candidate to bring back or a bottle to slip into my suitcase was the light crisp lemon grass Lu out. It was a wonderful beer for a hot day. And of course, it's not currently being canned. So it's another one that I'm going to wistfully remember rather than Get to drink on a hot day. Surprisingly, I tasted all of his and I loved the lemon grass luau. I am not a beer drinker, I do tastings with chance. And generally my tastes run to the very dark beers. And this time I really enjoyed the lemongrass luau. That was that was surprising. And why did they call it a spiced beer because it was not spicy. It had no, it was it was so good that it had this probably, I don't know if this speaks well for it or not. But it had no aftertaste. For me, it didn't leave a bad taste in the back of my mouth. And so I really, I liked it, it was very light and refreshing. It did not have a bite at the front either. It was smooth it was it just went down. It was crisp and smooth it I won't say it wasn't cidery because it didn't have the bubble profile of a cider but it was just light and crisp. And when in the heat, you could get yourself in real trouble with it because it would go down. Really easy, really easy. It's like drinking a light beer, but I think they called it a spice beer where it was a lemon grass forward flavor. That was the, the the the idea there. And it didn't. I didn't I don't remember smelling it. Did it smell like lemon? I don't remember it smelling like lemon. I will be honest, that was one I was had already down to the waters and was I got that one first and tried it first. And it I had I had quickly handed back away because I knew if I didn't I was going to drink the whole thing right away. The only one other one that I you know I like said all of them are solid. The wheat was a strong weak beer. And I would love to get a hold of it someday. But those are all on the just the brewery only list. And if you guys don't go visit breweries, you're missing out because the things that they do for experiments before they make it into cans or bottles, oftentimes are the best things you're going to get from a brewery. So that's Kona, I would go back to Kona in a second. Even though admittedly, it's gotten big enough. It's a chain, but it's still an independent brewery brewery. As far as I know. I did not check InBev at all I probably should have. And we enjoyed the heck out of it. Also, good fish tacos. The fish tacos were wonderful. They were excellent chance ate fish in Hawaii, kind of under protest, but he did. So our next stop want to talk about is and the other brewery we went to. And while Kona was our first stop, although was our last. And it was while we were waiting to go to the airport on our final day in Hawaii. So mood was very different. Everybody's tired. Everybody's grumpy. We're a little bit in mourning because vacation is over. So it colored the experience a little bit. I will say the best food I had on the island was at Ola brewery. The pork tacos were a freaking amazing. I would agree with that. Absolutely amazing. So now to the brewery in itself. Which I'm not going to use the word amazing for the rest of this part. It was I'm going to call it a broad brewery. They made beer, cider seltzer hard tea. I think sodas and I could if I if I'm wrong on that I I seem to remember seeing it. I've got seltzers and teas, beers and ciders. Most definitely yes, you can see those on the menu. And probably the best way to put it was it was a very broad and eclectic look at the menu. That's probably the best way to put it. So what did you think honey? So I did a flight of ciders while I was there and they have four ciders on tap. They've got a cone of gold which is a pineapple cider, a tangelos cider, which is kind of a citrusy or what was the combination? It was tangerine and pomelo i think is what they said. And then they had a white pineapple cider and a dragon fruit lychee or lychee cider, and they were totally out of the cone of gold so they let me substitute in a hard tea for it and I put in the lemongrass tea thinking that maybe it would be something like the beer that we had over at Kona because hey, you know, lemongrass beer. Hey, lemongrass tea. This sounds like it might be up my alley. It was disappointing. I didn't actually like it at all. And, to be honest, I'm not sure if I've had a hard tea before so it may have just been my experience in that area. It was it was like a tea. It was like a sweet juice a sweet, sweet tea and I'm not sure. I haven't had that. So I don't know. You're lucky. Okay. Yeah, I don't know. I just it was okay. But it kind of just lacked, it doesn't have any sparkle to it. You know, the ciders kind of have a little bit of a effervescent filter out there. I'm coughing here. Sorry. The tangelos cider. I really enjoyed it was very citrusy. A little akin to orange juice. It did remind me of a mimosa Yeah, it kind of had some of those qualities to it. It was eminently drinkable. The dragon fruit lychee or lychee. cider was gorgeous. It was magenta. It was fuchsia. It just a we were out sitting outside on the patio, and it glowed in the sunlight. It was so fantastically gorgeous. I'm like, Yeah, I want some of that. However, the taster was more than I needed. It was pretty sweet. It was a lot sweeter than I expected it and then than I expected it to be I like my ciders to be tart. The white pineapple cider was by far my favorite and I would have brought home a case of that had I been able to get a hold of it and I can. However, it is a limited edition. Apparently the white pineapple is very rare. So they probably don't can it it's probably only available on tap there and Ola in Kona. But I enjoyed the experience. I enjoy comparing those. And I ended up I tried to do tasters. And this is where I ended up disappointed. When I first looked at the menu. There were something like 20 beers on that listed. It was impressive. I thought wow, I've got some options of math to pick and choose. And then they pointed out I was on the wrong menu. I said okay, so Show me. So what do you actually have on tap? And there were basically a variety of four beers, and then four more IPAs. And you can combine those I'm like, yeah, just give me the Pale Ale. Lu Heiner lukina. Remember looking at Pale Ale and and called it good and it was an OK pale. It was nothing to write home about. It had a fair hot profile, good flavor. But I was I looked at the menu and there was a couple of sours, for instance that I was really, really excited about. And they weren't available anywhere. So this left me with an impression that Ola feels like a place. I mean, excellent restaurant, I would go I would love to find those pork tacos again. But they're making their bones by doing what Kona is not cone is the well known brewery that is making bank on I'm sending their beer around. What Ola is doing is doing everything throwing at the wall and seeing what sticks. And I don't blame them. But it seems like it's an island with about 185,000 people on it. And these are the two major breweries. So you can get away with that. But if you do it in a larger market, you're going to just sink because you don't have a specialty. And maybe their specialty is IPAs, but now that the whole experience for me was a little disappointing. I don't think I'm going to seek out another whole Abreu. I will keep an eye out for an Ola cider just because it was a good experience for me in that department. It they had fantastic service. They had a fun outdoor patio. Of course the weather was beautiful the day that we were there too and that doesn't doesn't hurt. And although you only have 185,000 on the island that are residents you have a ton of tourists coming in and so they do have a rotating audience, that is true. They have. And it was except I'll go back and eat there any time and hopefully I find a good beer if I'm ever back on the island. So on the day we hiked in volcano National Park, you may have heard that one car episode on the hike. We stopped right outside the park at a little winery. I think it's the only winery on the island. It is it's called volcano winery. And it is located just outside volcano National Park. And you actually probably want to google it to find it. Because chances are I actually drove down several farm roads and kind of looked at each other going, are you sure this is where we're going? And then lo and behold, there it was. So we popped into this place, and we arrived just before a larger group. And so we actually had the proprietors attention and and expertise as they were pouring. And so that was nice and fun. And and they were super friendly and very accommodating. being the only winery on the island. It was interesting to see what they were making their wine with. So they grow Symphony grapes there. And then they made Did they say they grew their own Pinot Noir? No, they didn't. They shipped those in from California. And then they also did fruit blends. And so they would Well, I'll let me run through these real quick. So the first one we tried was a symphony dry and it's 100% Symphony grapes. And I actually bought brought a bottle of this one home. It's super tart. I've never come across some funny grapes before. And so this one was really crisp, really tart, and had kind of a peachy flavor to it. And so I think it'll be great for this fall as the weather continues hot around here. We followed that with a Pinot Noir. And it was 100% Pino and this one had an aroma of green olives. And well I love olives and so those of you that don't like all of them there's almost a skip hard skip right off the bat for me. Yeah, chance had a really hard time tasting that one. So chances is a wine tastes are very much like I'm a beer taster in that he will go tasting with me but it's not his first love. Or my second right. And then the next one we tried was a volcano read. The volcano read is Part A red white grape blend and then 15% local oh boy I'm gonna I'm gonna butcher The name of this it looks like jaboticaba berries. But how did she say it? She said it was Habad Chicka chicka bah had oh dear I just Yeah, I was not paying she said it and she said it and I repeated it back and she said good and then I corsi and I haven't practiced it since then what I want to say how Bathsheba berries. I've never heard of a hibachi Burberry. But anyway, it was really sweet. A lot more sweet than I like cranberry and cherry and if I remember right, they said people like to eat this one at the holidays or drink this one at the holidays. And I I kind of got that from it. However it is not one I would have gone back to and then the next one was a symphony Millay. And it was also Symphony grapes. But they had I know whose It was super sweet. They there was a difference there between the symphony dry and the symphony mela and I can't remember why they said one was sweeter than the other Do you remember at all? I don't it was but it was very desert whiny? Yes. Maybe that's what it was. Maybe it was more of a desert wine. But it was not up my alley either. And then the volcano blush was also a fruit blend it was Symfony grapes and also more of the hub bacik and again, I just it was sweet. So it was like it was a another dessert wine. Everything we had hinted as a dessert To me because yes, there was a lot It was there's a lot of high sugar content in us. Yes. I mean for somebody that was just getting into wines off they would loved it as a as a beginner wine drinker I would have loved this place. But yeah, these these were super sweet. There was a Hawaiian guava grape wine, again with the symphony grapes and then Hawaiian yellow guavas. And it also I like, Oh my gosh, this is so sugary. I'm you just syrupy. And then they had a macadamia nut, honey Mead. And I've had Meads before and I've been unimpressed. And so I was very much ready not to be impressed with this one. This one was actually had really pretty decent balance and flavor. And all those sweet it had enough earthiness to it that I did not turn my nose up at it. I actually drink all of that one. There were quite a few of these that I took a sip and let chance take a sip and then we went okay, we're good and reported out. Or like next. Bye. But yeah, this macadamia nut honey mead was excellent. It was really good. It is noted to be a Hawaiian dessert wine. And so it is made for that purpose. And then the last one we tried was an infusion tea wine made and I'm not sure you tried this one. It smelled like tea. It did. Yeah. And so for those of you that, enjoy a good cup of tea, where the your tongue is left dry after taking a sip of tea, this one this wine did that to your tongue. It was interesting. It very much had the aftertaste of having just had a cup of tea. So I thought that that was rather interesting. I've never had a wine that was purported to be a tea. So anyhow, that was that's my overview there of the wines that we tried over there. I would have brought home a Pino, one of the Pinot Noirs or the symphony dry, but because they did their own line their own grapes there, I thought that the symphony would be a better keepsake bringing home. They also had two other wines that we didn't try. But they were I mean, when we were talking about bringing back the the peano of that, but it was an $80 bottle on Yeah, $80 bottle and we couldn't try it before we bought it. So we went down Nevermind. We could have but we didn't want to pay a second tasting fee. Admittedly, that tasting. Okay, I'm going to make a quick note there on the tasting fee for for the ones I just mentioned. That was you know, a $15 tasting fee, or something very close to that it wasn't terribly off the chart. However, for their reserve, they had to reserve bottles there. If you wanted to try the two reserve bottles. It was a $20 tasting $22 $22 tasting. Yeah, no. So I'm we're kind of went Whoa, Alrighty, then. So they, they do feel very highly about their reserve wines. And so they may very well be worth it. I don't know, we did not go there. One thing Lastly, they were very gracious, very kind. And we very much enjoyed our visit. But it was very interesting to see what kinds of wines they were producing there now and the cool thing about it is they have a an amazing location. Not only is it right there next to volcano National Park, but it is no I mean, it was less than two miles away from the gate. And it was off the road. So you were isolated, still great views. They've got a great little tasting room. At the end of the road. You can't go any farther down this road than you do here. And you just pull in and you're there. It's so experiential. If you have the opportunity I would definitely go just because even if you're an oenophile trying the wines that are so different will make you go so it was cool. The next one dear I'm so you can you can butcher that name. Oh, hang on second. Oh, cool. Kulena Rum Shack. Okay. So the Kulena Rum Shack. We were pretty excited because this one was within walking distance of our resort of our resort to where we were. And so we're like, yes, we're gonna go check this one out. And we actually happened upon it one evening because after dinner, we went for a walk. And lo and behold, there it was. And we looked at it, and we went, Oh, man, you know, it's after hours. And it's looks full. Everything's been busy there, probably we can't get in. But there was another party there. And they popped their head and they sent in somebody to see if maybe they could get a seat at the bar, you know, anything that like, and they let them in. So chance and I just walked in right behind them. We hung out a few minutes while they got them seated. And then we said, Is there room for two more. And so we popped up and we actually were fortunate enough to sit right at the bar. And we found out that the cuyana Rum shack is actually a craft bar. And so they there is one rum that they actually distill on the island, 100% sugarcane. And then the other rums that they have on hand are rums that they have crafted from other rums all over the world, which I find an interesting process, I don't know a lot about it. However, the drinks that they crafted at this place were really quite good. And it is awesome to sit at the bar with the bartender and watch them at their work. They are fascinating. And the galva was our bartender that night was chatty and friendly. And we watched a rum old fashioned be infused with smoke using a cake platter and a hose. And I mean, it was just fascinating. And we visited with her and she shared a few little, you know, tricks of the trade and talked about the drinks that she liked to order. Or I'm sorry, not that she liked to order the drinks that she liked to make and the drinks that she didn't like to make as much. And so that evening, we ordered I ordered a rum sour, which is was incredibly unlike any other sour I've ever ordered. It was fantastic. And it was her favorite thing to make. And I learned something that night. You always want to order what the bartender likes to make. Because you can't you can't go wrong with that. Whatever it is that they like to make, you should order it. Chance What did you order? I had I kept it simple. I kept I had a mohito but it was this place had their mojitos on tap, which was interesting because they made mass quantities of a mint simple syrup with a suevey which I going to have to figure out this process because it was an incredible mohito. And, you know, I? The next time I went in there we tried a I tried something named for Hemingway, because well, he has Idaho connections. They're dark, but they're Idaho connections. And what they said well, what should what I didn't realize as well. They basically made the regular Daiquiri and then just double the alcohol in it because Hemingway was an alcoholic that was the source of the name. Their drinks were top notch, and you paid top notch prices for them. But the the little It was one of those places that the staff made or broke and the night that we were sitting there with the bartender, she definitely made that place special. Yes. The second time that we went by there we went by for food. And sometimes that's not always a wise decision when you are headed to a place that is known for its drinks. And the bartender had warned us of that the night before she said well we are a rum distillery to begin with and she says that is our focus and our and our our point, the food is there to help or to help enhance the flavors of the drinks. And so we ordered dinner. But the service was not as great we were seated at a table and the drinks were not quite as fantastic because we made the rookie mistake of not ordering what the bartender liked to make. But it was really great and definitely a place to check out again. But it also kind of highlighted for us. This is the second time that we had sat at the counter because we did a breakfast in Hilo and sat at the counter and had asked service. Sometimes if you want to get in and out of place faster, sitting at the counter is a great way to kind of get yourself plugged in right away to the local chatter to the heartbeat of the restaurant, and to get better service. And so we certainly found that to be true these two instances. Well, it was still a good one, I mean, still a good experience overall. The last place we stopped, was the 12th Hawaiian distillery, excuse me, 12th. Hawaii distillery done that twice. And it was, it's an experience Now, if you'll recall, we're sharing a car. So we had in to run some errands in the morning and have to be back at a certain time so that the next person can get in the vehicle and go off on their date, which was fine. didn't mind it at all. So we're in town at 10 in the morning. So what should we do after we're done running our errands? Honey, I think there's a distillery near here. I think we should go taste while we're there. I definitely think so. In our defense, our body clocks are four hours ahead. So we weren't really drinking at 10 in the morning, even though we were This place is literally a hidden gem. It is like a speakeasy. It's like going geocaching. Because you're looking at it on the Google Map. And you're like it says it's right here. And you pull into the parking lot. And you're looking at all the signs and you're like it's not here, but it says it's here. And so we start walking down the alleys, and we walk around one side of the building, and you can't walk around the edge of the building because it's all blocked off with fences and in dumpsters. So we backtrack and we go down the other way. Turns out there is an alleyway between two buildings that doesn't exactly show up on Google. And so we slipped down this alleyway, and we're like, oh, no, this doesn't look right. But sure enough, there's a sign that says 12th Hawaii distillery this way. We're like, okay, so we go this way down another alley. This point, you're not sure if you're going to walk off the edge of the island or not. But you know, it's the middle of downtown who knows. And it is broad daylight. It's not the middle of the night. So we're walking down the alley. And we reached the end of the building, and we're like, it's not here. And we're like, well, let's just check around the corner. So we step around the corner. Sure enough, there it is. The 12th Hawaii distillery with just a a normal door into a, you know, it's a tiny place and that we sat down with the distiller and I am going hoping to get him on in the next few months and talk to him about his process because he obviously has a lot of love and care for what he does. He had he's been in that location, his his words, legally distilling for the last four years now. And they have four products and he's winning awards at these. He has a Kona coffee spirits, that is Kona coffee, and Hawaiian honey. He has a honey shine, which is a I won't say rock. It's like a moonshine. It's like a moonshine flavor, but it is still it's got some really good spice notes. It is distilled four times from 100% Hawaiian wildflower honey. So you get a little different flavor every time. But he's distilling honey for every one of his products. He has a vodka, which is distilled honey, distilled seven times, and potatoes. And it's a very good vodka. All of these were super smooth, super smooth, ultimately very drinkable. The moonshine and the vodka were a little bit strong for me to drink very much have by themselves, possibly because it was 10 in the morning, possibly. In fact, he kind of was surprised that we came in for a tasting I think that early. He says How did you find us? We're tourists who like to wander and that basically is where it's at. The final thing is the distillers edition distillers river reserve. And we like this one enough that I was ready to throw out some clothes and stuff in the bag and bring it home. I actually did bring home a bottle of this. It is distilled it is going to just read off his tasting nuts. We invite you to enjoy the exceptional taste and quality of our distillers reserve. This premium spirit is dissolved distilled four times using pure Hawaiian honey before at rest in charred oak barrels with Hawaiian keyway wood. We use whiskey East in the distilling process that allows the spirit to take on rich flavor and personality of whiskey. It does a very, very smooth whiskey, smooth and distinct the distilleries reserve represents the passion and impeccable quality of 12th. Hawaii distillery limited release. Yeah, it was worth it. This is so good. And it is. It's sweet without being overpoweringly sweet. It is very Hawaiian, you get macadamia nut, you get salted Carmel, you have vanilla and toffee. And then you have the oak barrel there this that is adds the smoke to it. And we brought a home home a bottle and opened it up and took a sip. And much like scotch. I was seated, seated. Excuse me, I was seated back at the bar. Having a drink in Hawaii again. It was just that good. It's very experiential. And yes, we just we very much enjoyed that experience. It was really neat and magical to sit down and actually get to visit with the person that was making it and had definitely had a passion for it. And so that was awesome to see. And awesome to hear. If you ever get there, the Big Island, make sure you check it out. If you find it in a total wine and more, pick it up, or wherever you get your liquor right now he is available. He said in four states. This one is not one of them. Be Idaho is not one of them. Yes. So to wrap up, I'm going to say thank you to untapped because without untapped, I would have forgotten most of what we drank. Not because I was intoxicated. But because we did a lot in a week I would go back to any of these places and try them out each in their own way. I'd go back and get pork tacos at Ola. And I would be trying out the different things that different distilleries, because I'd be honest, I already know I want another bottle of the reserve, but I'm not sure how I'm gonna get it. How'd you like to finish off me? Oh, you know, it was interesting to go to Hawaii and taste all of the different cocktails that are available. And though things that stood out the most were actually the things that we found at these distillers and brewers breweries. And so sometimes it isn't in the cocktail, sometimes it is in the ingredients that they're that are being used. And taking it back to the people that are making it and have a passion for that sometimes you enjoy it more at the source. And to experience something that you're not going to see again, that some of those flavors are not going to carry over very well anyplace else. You're not going to have the same mohito or sour here, because you're not getting the same fresh ingredients that you're going to get right there on the island. And you've got somebody that specialized in it, you're not going to find very many people across the United States who are distilling honey the way especially honey that comes out with macadamia flavors, right to make a really nice whiskey flavor when it's all done. You know, when you go someplace, don't go to the chains. When you go travel, go find something new. And that concludes this edition of Strive Seek Find. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed the episode, or would just like to support the podcast. Here are a few ways you can do it. You can leave a review on Apple podcasts are pod chaser that will help bring more listeners to the podcast. If that isn't your style, you can buy me a coffee or purchase some mirch links are in the podcast description. Finally, if you have ideas or feedback, please reach out to the strive seek fan page on Facebook or to @chancewhitmore5 on Twitter. Until next time, keep seeking your own brilliant future. Have a great day.