Where I come from, the Fourth of July is a big deal, not just because we’re celebrating our independence from British rule (#notaxationwithoutrepresentation), and not just because we get to blow shit up when the sun goes down. Fourth of July is a big deal because it’s one of the few days of the year that serious day drinking is encouraged. Granted, in my family, there’s a certain amount of drinking that takes place during every holiday (Raise your hand if you love a Bloody Mary with a Deviled Egg garnish on Easter), but if you’re not deep into a cooler of beer by lunch time on the Fourth, you’re doing it wrong.
I’ve found the beer that’s going to fill that cooler on the Fourth of July, and the rest of summer for that matter: Maui’s Kihei Kolsch, a crisp ale that’s light enough to drink all day, but has so much more going on than your typical day-drinking option. Think of it like that super hot chick in high school that also got a 1400 on her SATs and did performance art on open mic night. I also like the idea of drinking a German style beer from Hawaii, which very well may be the least German-like state in the Union.
Kihei is super carbonated with bubbles for days. It’s mesmerizing to stare into the glass and watch the tiny pockets of air rise. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I used to stare into the bubble lights my parents put on the Christmas tree every year. It has a slightly orange tint to it, and a faint sweetness to the nose, which lets you know you’re getting into something a bit more complex than your standard session beer.
Like all Koslch ales, Kihei is crisp and light, but it’s also really well hopped with plenty of piney notes and a pleasant, lingering bitterness. A layer of sweetness underscores the hop profile. It’s kind of citrusy, but faint, more reminiscent of the rind of an orange instead of the pulpy fruit itself.
Put it all together and you have a beer that’s light enough to crush all day, but complex enough to keep it interesting. I’m so smitten with Maui’s Kolsch, I’m committed to drinking it on the Fourth. I might even make it my official Beer of Summer.
Brewery: Maui Brewing Company
City: Maui, Hawaii
Availability: Limited, seasonal