If you want to spend your Hawaiian vacation sipping cocktails from tiki glasses, we completely get it, they’re delicious. That being said, don’t neglect the state’s incredible local beer scene, either. Hawaii has certainly upped its game in the world of beer in the past few years, and let’s face it, is there anything more refreshing than a cold beer on a warm day? Explore the best spots to enjoy Hawaiian beer with this guide to the state's 10 best breweries.
Waikiki Brewing Company
This spot hasn’t stopped growing since it became Waikiki’s first dedicated brewery in 2015. When it became clear that the first location’s seven-barrel brewhouse, capable of producing 1,100 barrels a year, couldn’t keep up with its rising popularity, they knew it was time to expand. The company opened two more locations over the next couple years, one in Lahaina, Maui and another on Oahu in artsy Kakaako. Waikiki Brewing Company is a true local business, purchasing its cans from a manufacturing plant on-island and donating its spent grain to a local farm. Try the super-refreshing Hana Hou Hefe, the hoppy Skinny Jeans IPA, or the unique Jalapeno Mouth Amber Ale.
Honolulu Beerworks opened in 2014 right in the middle of the action in Kakaako, the trendy Honolulu neighborhood that has helped reinvigorate Oahu’s beer scene. It has the ultimate casual vibe with its breezy indoor-outdoor seating, recycled wooden walls, and huge collection of artwork by local artists. It’s also the best place to be post-Eat the Street, a monthly food-focused event held monthly in Kakaako. The brewpub is always pushing out limited and seasonal releases, but some of the tastiest classics include the Pia Mahi `ai Honey Citrus Saison, Kewalo’s Cream Ale, and the Point Panic Pale Ale.
Lanikai Brewing Company
Find Lanikai Brewing Company in beautiful Kailua town on Oahu’s windy east side. Not only does the environmentally minded company take its flavors from local, rare, and exotic ingredients from Hawaiian farms, it also makes an effort to utilize fruit that would otherwise go to waste. Try samples of its signature collection of small-batch brews inside the cozy tasting room, such as the Pillbox Porter made using Hawaiian vanilla bean, or the Route 70 Saison made from local organic Ohia Lehua Hawaiian honey and hibiscus.
Aloha Beer Company
This rustic brewery can also be found in Honolulu’s Kakaako district, nestled between a few industrial shops and high-rise buildings. That definitely doesn't take away from its neighborhood charm, though, thanks to its large beer garden and friendly bartenders. While moving from its former location on Nimitz, Aloha Beer Company added famous local brewer Dave Campbell to its roster, resulting in some pretty delicious beers on tap. Kick back with a refreshing Queen St Pils (named for the street where the brewery is located) or indulge in the Cyclhops, a 85-IBU IPA that’s aged for six months.
Maui Brewing Company
What started in 2005 as a small single craft brewery in Lahaina has now become one of the most well-respected and biggest names in the Hawaii beer community. Maui Brewing Company now has busy restaurants in Lahaina, Waikiki, and Kailua, as well as its new brewery headquarters in Kihei. One-hour guided tours of the Kihei brewery provide an up-close look into the brewing process, as well as a tasting of the company’s favorite beers such as Bikini Blonde lager and Pau Hana Pilsner. Pro tip for if you’re visiting with a non-drinker: the company also makes a line of yummy sodas.
Tucked away behind a strip mall in Lahaina, Kohola Brewery is inside what was once Maui Brewing Company’s first space (before the company outgrew it). It may be a little hard to find for some visitors, but the effort is well worth the wait. This small craft brewery has both a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and a quality selection of award-winning beers from the Red Sand amber ale to the Pineapple Blonde fruit beer. Plus, it is just walking distance from Maui’s tourist-heavy Front Street.
Big Island Brewhaus
Located in Waimea on the northern part of Hawaii Island, this hidden gem provides thoughtful beers that are brewed and bottled on-site. The casual, tropical outdoor patio provides the perfect mix of island vibes and warm ambiance for beer drinking. The brewpub’s unique Mexican-meets-Hawaiian food menu is worth the trip as well. Opt for the aromatic Overboard IPA, the Belgian-style Golden Sabbath, or the floral Paniolo Pale Ale.
Kona Brewing Company
Arguably the most well-known brewery in Hawaii, Kona Brew has been providing people with a true taste of the islands since it was founded in 1994. It may brew a majority of its beer on the U.S. mainland, but the huge label has always stayed true to its roots by keeping headquarters in its original Kailua-Kona brewery. The company’s Longboard Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale are iconic around the islands, and the Big Island location has a 2,000-square-foot outdoor lanai for visitors to enjoy. In 2003, they opened another spot in Hawaii Kai on Oahu, right on the Koko Marina docks.
Hilo Brewing Company
Formerly known as Mehana Brewing and Hawaii Nui Brewing, the Hilo Brewing Company has a tasting room connected to the brewery in southern Hilo on the Big Island. The company values quality over quantity, with room for just a few people inside the tasting room and a few picnic-style tables outside. The Volcano Red Ale is deliciously full-bodied and the Tsunami IPA packs a punch with black pepper and citrus.
Kauai Beer Company
Located on Rice Street in Lihue, a mere 2 miles from the island’s main commercial airport, the Kauai Beer Company is a popular hangout for tourists and locals alike. It's been around since 2013, with both indoor and outdoor seating available (always a helpful feature considering Kauai’s rainy weather). Its flagship brews, Back Limousine Lager and Lihue Lager, hold down the fort annually while a seasonal selection of microbrews rotate throughout the year.