Honolulu Brewers Festival – Great Beer Gets Better
We’re excited to be back at Kakaako Makai Gateway Park for the first ever Honolulu Brewers Festival. I say “back” because last year’s REAL Beer Festival has been re-branded as the Honolulu Brewers Festival. The date has also been moved from August to April with the hopes that we won’t have to worry about any hurricanes this year. As many people remember from last year, hurricanes Iselle and Julio pushed the original date back a week.
Despite the last minute date change it was still a huge success and raised $45,000 for the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation. This year’s event is also going to support the HAF. Each year we go back the festival just keeps getting bigger and better. The choices keep getting tougher as well. In 2013 there were 50+ craft beers. In 2014 it was 60+ and for this year they have a list of 80+ beers to choose from. They’ve also bumped the number of participating restaurants from 15 up to 20. Even with more beer and more food it’s important to remember that this event typically sells out. You’ll also want to hit the T-shirt booth early because those go fast too.
Last year we did a version of Japanese okazuya with bacon and blue cheese stuffed mochi on the grill. It was a killer flavor combo of sweet, salty and smoky with the creamy texture of melted mochi. This year I’m planning a twist on a cassoulet I did for one of our wine dinners last year. I’m using some house made Big Island Wild Boar Bratwurst on top of the cassoulet with fennel pollen dusted atop it, and azuki beans, to give it some rich hearty Italian sausage flavor.
While it’s hard to go wrong when pairing food with beer, I think with a lot of craft beers you have really strong flavors. The natural effervescence of beer and the flavors of hops and fruit that you find in many craft beers cut through weaker flavors. I wanted to have something with some spice to it that would complement a lot of beers on the list.
I’m looking forward to trying a few beers myself although I’ve found as I get older I need to be a little more selective. I have certainly enjoyed all kinds of craft beers over the years but I can’t do that regularly anymore without gaining weight. At this year’s festival I’ll probably be leaning toward some of the stronger stouts and porters and give them a try.
I’d like to invite everyone down to join me and the Tiki’s crew. The First Annual Honolulu Brewers Festival is from 2:00-6:30pm at the Kakaako Makai Gateway Park on Saturday, April 18. Tickets are available through the festival’s website www.honolulubrewersfestival.com. They are limiting it to 2500 tickets this year. With the special 10 beer sample wrist band, tickets are $70 plus service fee. There is also a special reduced price for non-drinkers and designated drivers that just want to come out and enjoy the food. Everyone is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs although coolers and backpacks are not allowed. Entry to the festival is limited to 21 years and over. Check the website for the rest of the fine print. With the warm summer months right around the corner it’s a great chance to find your new favorite beer for 2015.