Sake Gumi

I was lucky to be in Maui this past Labor Day weekend for a good friend's wedding. When I got there I checked out the beers in the market and noticed a few from the locally brewed Maui Brewing Company. Since I had a few extra days I decided to check the place out.

The Maui Brewing Company has two locations, the actual brewery/tasting room, and another brewpub (which I did not visit). The brewery is tucked way into the back of a business park where you would least expect to find one. I had a tough time finding it but noticed a large fermentation vessel sitting in the middle of the driveway.


The place is basically a huge warehouse with a hole cut into the wall for the little tasting room. From the bar you can see directly into the brewery where the beer is made. If you needed to use the restroom you would need to walk past all the canning machines and through the entire operation to get to it.


In the tasting room, I started off with the flight which consisted of their Bikini Blond, Maui Cruiser Pale Ale, Coconut Porter, Big Swell IPA, and Mana Wheat (left to right).


The IPA was pretty good, but the beer that stood out was the Coconut Porter. I really expected it to be a Hawaiian novelty thing but was really pleasantly surprised. It is deep black in color, with a tan-tinted head, and it smells nutty, with hints of chocolate, and coffee. The hit of coconut is balanced out by a roasted malt flavor. It’s also light enough so that you could easily drink  several of them. I had a pint after the tasting and then brought home a couple 4 packs of it. It was my breakfast beer for the entire vacation.

View of the canning machines from the bar.


The warehouse.


Another thing about the Maui Brewing Company is that they can their beer, instead of bottling, which is done by most microbreweries. This is a controversial topic, since bottles have always been considered the best way to package great beer. I asked a few of the guys at the brewery about this, and they said that aluminum cans are newly designed to have an internal lining that coats the freshness of the beer. This offsets the metallic taste which is known to come from cans.

I have to admit I am a little skeptical about this, but the beer itself tastes good. I won’t hesitate now to try more canned microbrews. If you ever come across the Maui Brewing Company's Coconut Porter, give it a shot.

Column: Tap This


  • Great photos. I don’t really drink beer, but I was curious about the bottling vs. canning debate. Aesthetically, I would pick a glass bottled beverage over a canned one any day. Do you know if beer has ever been bottled in plastic bottles?

    yoko on

  • Specially designed grooves – hilarious and somehow very wrong.

    yoko on

  • ok but i need food at the same time. Do they have it? I’ll be there in two weeks and want to gooooo!

    jerkey on

  • Me too. Bottles look better and just feel like they are “higher quality” to me than cans. Maybe that is because I (and most of us) am used to only the huge Macro Breweries beers in cans. I know canning equipment is more expensive so maybe that is the reason a lot of the craft breweries have stayed away from this, but its clear that more and more of them are starting to offer their beer in cans.

    I still feel I would prefer to have my beer in bottles over cans, but I am wondering if this is in my head. I would definitely rather drink out of a bottle than a can. But if I poured the same beer from a can and a bottle into a glass, I wonder if I would notice a difference in quality.

    As far as plastic goes the answer is yes for a few years now. All of the macro breweries (bud, miller, coors) seem to be doing this now. I see them mostly at ball games and places they will not allow people to walk around with glass. This would easily be my last choice.

    Not sure if you saw the commercials, but Miller Light also launched their beer in new vortex bottles:

    CJ on

  • You can go to the restaurant/bar and get both the beer and some food as well. I heard the food is pretty good there but didn’t go myself. I don’t think they had food at the actual brewery.

    CJ on

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