The story behind Maui Brewing Company is a familiar one: leave the corporate world and found a brewery. Garrett Marerro, a San Diego native and former investment professional, left the rat race after falling in love with the island life, and started Maui Brewing in 2005. Eight years later, Marerro and company haven’t looked back, and cans of Maui Brewing standards like CoCoNut Porter are go-to beers for many craft beer drinkers.
Despite living and working in a place many people consider to be paradise, Marerro still finds reasons to come back to his old stomping grounds. Marerro’s latest trip happened on Thursday when Urge American Gastropub in Rancho Bernardo kicked off the summer of 2013 with a Maui Brewing Company-inspired luau.
You can’t have a luau without a roast pig, and Urge brought in Nate “Islander” Soroko from Toronado to deliver. The roast pig was a labor of love, and the beautiful plates of succulent pork were a perfect way to set the stage for some of Maui’s finest beers. Sides of sticky rice and Hawaiian macaroni salad surrounded the heaps of pig meat and cabbage, and they topped the whole dish off with a single orchid blossom.
There really wouldn’t be any other kind of beer to have at a luau, since Maui Brewing Company is the only Hawaiian brewery to brew exclusively in Hawaii and export to the mainland. Keeper glasses for the first 150 people paid homage to the cans that have come to represent Maui Brewing Company. While mainstays like CoCoNut Porter and Big Swell IPA could be had, the luau presented an opportunity to try beer that’s normally only available at the Maui brewpub.
Mac Nut Brown is an American brown ale with toasted macadamia nuts. The aroma has a strong roasted nuttiness to it, and the flavor is the same with hints of dark chocolate. Old Chinwig on Bourbon is an English strong ale with a dry finish, and slight alcohol burn from aging in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Freight Trains IPA is an excellent West Coast IPA with a beautiful blend of Simcoe, Chinook and Citra hops .
One beer stood out above the rest of the rarities. Get past snickering at the name Red Cock Doppelbock, and you’ll realize that Maui’s take on a German bock beer is definitely worth a sample. The beer pours a deep reddish-brown, and the aroma is malty and fruity. The flavor backs up the aroma with a malty punch and subtle cherry flavor. Despite aging in Woodinville Whiskey barrels, this beer has very little alcohol burn, and is very pleasant to drink.
Urge certainly has a history of putting on interesting craft beer events, and Thursday’s Maui luau was no exception. While it may be prohibitively expensive to get out to the islands, there’s always beer by Maui Brewing Company to bring a little bit of the island life to the mainland.