Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beer Reviews and Yardhouse

I am conflicted.  Yardhouse - Waikiki is a great bar/restaurant but has its flaws.  On one hand, it has dozens and dozens of beers on tap with a choice for everyone's palate. On the other, it's in the middle of a tourist hotbed, which means the bar is almost always too crowded, the food is average, and the prices are a little expensive.  The only real appeal of this place is its vast beer selection.  So it's a great bar/restaurant to visit at certain times.  This weekend, I discovered some new information.  Yardhouse has happy hour after 10:30pm from Sunday through Wednesday (no work on Tuesday for election day made this information easier to discover).  The bar also has happy hour from 2-5:30pm Monday through Friday.
Half the Beers on Tap
Happy Hour at Yardhouse includes $3.50 and $4.50 pints (domestic and import), which beats their normal $5 and $6 prices.  Martinis are $6.25, Wine is $1.25 off, and apppetizers (including 6 types of pizza, onion rings, egg rolls, chicken fingers, buffalo wings, sashimi, etc) are half off.  If you're planning a trip to Honolulu, and you like beer, I highly recommend stopping in to Yardhouse during Happy Hour.

As for my beer reviews, I was with several people this weekend and got a great sample of delicious beer.  Here is the list and a brief description/review, in no particular order.  If you want to see ALL the beer offered at Yardhouse, here is a copy of their menu (this does not include everything, but it still gives a good sampling).

Kona Longboard Island Lager - This is the Kona Brewing Company's flagship beer.  Kona is a small micro-brewery located in Kona, on the Big Island.  The company introduced Pacific Golden Ale (now called Big Wave Golden Ale) and Fire Rock Pale Ale on February 14, 1995. Longboard Island Lager was added three years later. Longboard is a smooth beer very similar to a Stella Artois.  It has a delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma that complements the malty body of this beer.  It's a golden pale color that can be sipped all day on the beach.  Go into any bar/restaurant in Hawaii and they'll serve Longboard.

Kona Wailua Wheat - Light citrus wheat beer made by the Kona Brewing Company here is Hawaii. Here's how the company describes it: "Swimming in a fresh water pool at the base of a cascading waterfall is what we all imagine we would find in paradise.  On Maui, follow the old Hana Highway and you will find such a place – Wailua Falls. This plunging cascade of clear water is the inspiration for our Limited Release Wailua Wheat Ale. This golden, sun colored ale has a bright, citrusy flavor that comes from the tropical passion fruit we brew into each batch."  I couldn't agree more.  This beer is easily on of my favorites.  If you like lighter beer with hints of citrus, this is your beer.

Pyramid Audacious Apricot - Another fruity beer.  The difference between this beer and Wailua Wheat is the power of the fruit flavor.  Wailua Wheat has a distinct, but light citrus flavor that is refreshing.  This is a smooth, mild wheat ale, unfiltered and 5.1% alcohol by volume, garlanded with a pure, sweet apricot note. The apricot part makes it a little hard to match with foods, but if you're looking for a cheesecake beer (or a custard beer), here's your brew.  The Pyramid Brewing Company's Apricot beer is refreshing for the first half pint.  After that it becomes a little too sweet. Overall, it's good, but not as good as Wailua Wheat when it comes to fruit beers.

Young's Chocolate Stout - This one is making a run at being my new favorite beer. This is a thicker Stout beer with a hint of chocolate aftertaste that can even be used to make a Beer Float with Vanilla Ice Cream (available at Yardhouse).  It's made with pale ale and crystal malt, chocolate malt, special blend of sugars, Fuggle and Goldings hops, real dark chocolate and chocolate essence.  Chocolate malt and real dark chocolate are combined with Young's award winning rich, full flavored dark beer to craft a satisfyingly indulgent, but never overly sweet experience.

Young Double Chocolate Stout - One of the few times in my life where I'll say a single is better than a double.  The double chocolate is too thick and sweet with not enough beer bitterness.  First, it comes in a smaller glass, presumably because the high amount of sugar fermented by the yeast yields a higher alcohol content.  This did not have nearly as much character as the Single Chocolate Stout and did not go down nearly as smoothly. I can see using this in the Vanilla Ice Cream Beer Float, but beyond this, it wasn't even a good dessert beer.  The chocolate was actually closer to baking chocolate (i.e. bitter) than the single's bitterness finished with a sweet and smooth finish.  Not really a fan.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale - This is a really great ale beer that, while having a strong hoppy flavor (bitter), it finishes smoothly and with a hint of fruity/sweet undertones.  Someone else said they caught a hint of cloves. It pours a hazy, pale amber/orange with a tall white head that lasts for a decent amount of time.  Fun fact: In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day) for Casa U Betcha in Portland, Oregon. You could easily drink this beer all night.
The Pipes Keeping the Beer Cold

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