8 June 2015 - Best Beer HQ

Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale review

Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale review

ABV: 6%

The bottle: Aloha, Fire Rock Pale Ale!

I first noticed this beer on tap at a bar near my accommodation in Waikiki. The sign outside boasted of $4 Mai Tais, but I had eyes only for this beer. I was attracted by the beer’s tap handle – it looked like a large piece of rock, with a streak of lava running through it. I had to try it then and there.

Later, I bought another bottle from one of the omnipresent ABC Stores around Waikiki. The bottle isn’t nearly as impressive as that tap handle was, but I still like the like of it. Two people sit and watch as a volcano erupts into the sea. It looks suitably Polynesian, and I like the red-and-yellow lettering.

The beer itself is even better – but we’ll get to the review proper in a moment.

Blurb on the bottle: Active volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii leave visitors awestruck by their power. The glow of lava as it meets the ocean is an amazing sight. Our Fire Rock Pale Ale is inspired by this place with a bright copper colour and rich roasted malt taste. Aloha!

IBU: 35

Hops: Millennium, Cascade.

Malts: Pale, Extra Special Malt, Carapils, Honesy, Dark Malt.

Tastes like: You’ve heard of comfort food, right? Fire Rock Pale Ale sort of became the comfort beer of choice on my Hawaiian holiday.

It was love at first sip, as my taste buds greeted the Fire Rock’s complex caramel and floral flavour. The hops were assertive – but not overpowering – and the bitterness is absolutely on target. If it were a musical style, Fire Rock Pale Ale would be smooth jazz, because it went down so smoothly. I savoured the lingering, biscuity aftertaste.

There’s just something about this beer that always leaves me wanting more. It’s so mellow, so delightful…

Is it the best beer ever? Kona’s Fire Rock Pale Ale was probably the best beer that I tried in Hawaii. I didn’t have a bad beer while I was over there – in fact, most of the ones I tried were pretty darn good. However, this one just rises above them all.

If I could buy this awesome American pale ale in New Zealand, I absolutely would.

It seems I’m a big fan of this style of beer – that is, when it’s done well. Far too often I’ll drink an APA beer in New Zealand, the UK, or wherever, that’s not up to par. It takes more than just American hops to make a great APA.

What else should I drink? Next time I’ll review the Kona Brewing Company’s Castaway India Pale Ale, which is another great craft beer from the islands of Hawaii.

If you haven’t already, also check out Maui Brewing Co.’s Big Swell IPA.

Craft Beer review / USA /