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Koko Brown Beer is only available in Hawaii


Koko Brown Beer is only available in Hawaii and have you ever tasted toasted coconut in your beer? Well, here’s your chance to taste some of the islands best original beer. The beer is rich in a Hawaiian flavor, but not with a nutty taste. Remember Primo beer? “The tourists enjoy the different local beers while locals take pride in the fact that they are made here.”

Koko Brown Beer is available in Hawaii

When it comes to beer, there are purists and there are those who are not.

The purists want beer made from grain, hops, water and yeast — and nothing else. They want a brew that adheres like Super Glue to the centuries old German Purity Law, the famed Reinheitsgebot. Well, OK, the original German law didn’t mention yeast because no one really knew that yeast did all the heavy work of fermentation back in 1487 when they started hammering out what could go into beer and what couldn’t. You get the point, though.

The beer-loving heirs of those purists might yield a bit on spices such as coriander or cinnamon these days, but they’ll still insist beer is beer and should be made out of beer stuff.

Across the divide from the purists are people like me, who’ll try beer flavored with just about anything. Blueberries, paw-paws, cherries, hot peppers, bacon — I’ll try it. I might not always like it, but I’ll try it.

This week’s beer is one that might put off the purists, but ought to please many. It should especially appeal to anyone who loves coconut.

The brew, Koko Brown, hails from Hawaii. It is an American brown ale brewed with toasted coconut. They have a lot of that in Hawaii.

I have considered the possibility of trying to brew my own India pale ale with some pineapple. Some hops varieties give beer a bit of a pineapple citrus vibe anyway, so it sounds like something that ought to work. I don’t, however, think I ever considered coconut as a beer additive until a reader of this column suggested I try Koko Brown.

Once I heard the idea, it sounded like a natural.

American brown ales are, of course, brown. They also tend to be malty and nutty, and sometimes are sweet. Hops bitterness generally is not present to any great degree — usually it’s just enough to balance the grains.

Koko Brown Beer is only available in Hawaii

In other words, if you are picking a beer for coconuts to swim in, this is the one.

Koko Brown pulls it off very nicely. By the way, if you visited Hawaii a few years ago and tried a local brewpub ale called Coco Loco, this is that beer. Now you can buy it in Ohio.

The beer pours a suitably dark mahogany brown. The head, off-white, does not pile up high in the glass and does not last a long time, but it sticks around long enough to give the beer some visual appeal. Considering that the beer is fairly mild, you’ll likely get to the bottom of the glass in short order anyway, if you like it.

Whether you like it depends almost entirely on how you feel about coconuts. If a slice of coconut cream pie is your idea of a good dessert, this is your beer.

The coconut aroma is not terribly pronounced when the ale is poured cold from the refrigerator. It’s there, mingling with the bread and caramel and nutty scents, but it is not overpowering.

Once you take a sip, however, the coconut vibe hits you like a big Maui wave. It’s almost as though you shook a coconut out of a tree, hacked it open with a machete and then stuck your face in there. There is some hops character to balance things out, but the coconut is unquestionably the star.

If you’re a beer purist, that might not sound very beer-like. It might be too sweet for some. If you like coconut, though, dive right in. Me? I’m glad I have some more Koko Brown getting cold.

The beer is rich in flavor, but not particularly heavy. The nutty sweetness seems more pronounced as the brew warms up, but I liked this one cold.

I usually try to suggest food pairings, but this ale has me stumped. I tracked down the 2011 news release that announced Koko Brown, and Brewmaster Rich Tucciarone suggested pairings such as Thai curries, coconut rice, caramelized roast turkey and chocolate dipped macaroons, as well as aged cheeses, barbecued meats and carne asada.

Those suggestions probably would work. To me, the sweetness of the finish makes Koko Brown a fine dessert. I suspect baking some beer bread with Koko Brown would be a very cool idea, too.

 Koko Brown Beer is only available in Hawaii and so give yourself a treat when you come to visit our island retreat…

~~Aloha Nui Loa


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