Those of you that read this space regularly know by now that I’m a pretty big fan of the beers from Kona Brewing Co. I’ve enjoyed their beers for quite some time, and it’s always nice to see them offer new styles of beer for those of us on the mainland. Of course, it’s always fun to visit Kona Brewing when I’m in Hawaii, but I can’t always afford a trip to Hawaii just to drink good beer.
The latest Kona Brewing beer to hit mainland shores is Big Wave Golden Ale. Just like all of Kona’s other beers, Big Wave’s name is inspired by an actual place in Hawaii. In this case, it’s the huge waves off the north and west shores of Oahu. While Big Wave has a cool name appropriate for a Hawaiian beer, I actually like the flavor of Big Wave even more than the name.
Big Wave is a smooth, easy-drinking golden ale that is perfect for warm weather activities like a lazy day by the lake or in between holes on the golf course. It doesn’t have a huge body; instead, Big Wave offers a lighter body with a floral hop nose and just enough bitterness to cut through the caramel malt. It is a crisp, refreshing beer that delivers a lot of flavor.
Big Wave is a little bit bigger than Kona’s Longboard lager, another fine offering by this brewery. While Longboard is a lager, meaning that it is bottom fermented at cooler temperatures, Big Wave is an ale, so the yeasts ferment on the top of the beer and at higher temperatures. The result is that lagers are generally lighter in body and flavor, and ales have a bit more fullness and a richer flavor profile. Both Big Wave and Longboard are excellent beers, and both have that crisp hop flavor that makes them so refreshing in the heat. Big Wave does have a fuller flavor, but if you like Longboard, don’t miss Big Wave. I shared a few Big Waves and Longboards while smoking some barbecue with friends, and I found that I enjoyed alternating between Big Wave and Longboard to really compare and contrast the beers. My findings were pretty simple: Big Wave is a great beer and one to keep an eye out for if you enjoy Kona Brewing’s beers.
Look for six packs to hit the mainland sometime in August, and Big Wave on draught should be available in 2013 (the lucky residents of California and Florida will get Big Wave draught this year). Big Wave has quickly become one of my favorite beers, and I’ll be enjoying a few of these during this summer.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Kona Brewing Co. for review. No other compensation from Kona Brewing was received.