The Garden Isle holds a bounty of fresh ingredients to inspire craft brewers and incorporate into their recipes. It stands to reason that this island atmosphere would produce some of the best craft breweries out there. Sip your way around the island—but just remember to drink responsibly. It’s easy to get carried away when the taps are flowing, and the vibe is friendly. Here are the top breweries to check out on Kauai.
As Kauai Beer Company’s very first beer brewed in 2013, flagship Black Limousine is worth a sip (or two). This refreshing dark lager brings in notes of caramel and toffee for a cozy, homey flavor that is still surprisingly sippable even on a warm evening. Second, in their flagship lineup, Lihue Lager brings that malty, German-style pale lager to the island with some tropical tastes mixed in. Their space is bright and airy, with outdoor seating. And you can grab some grub to go with your beers, as well. As you sip, you’ll taste why they were named Best of Kauai in 2019.
Taking the title of the world’s westernmost brewery, Kauai Island Brewing Co. in Port Allen, on Kauai’s west coast, serves up brews that beg to fill growlers. In recent years, they’ve remodeled to incorporate an expansive lanai roofed in solar panels, letting patrons sip their pints outside in the island breeze while the brewery generates power from the sun. Plus, views from the second story give you sunset views over Hanapepe Bay if you venture upstairs instead. Their industrial design plays into the history of the building with a retro feel. But it’s all about the beer: award-winning Ele’Ele Brown and Cane Fire Red should be top of your list when they’re on tap.
Just like beer, mead is brewed. But the flavor experience is utterly different. Mead, or honey wine, is touted as the oldest alcoholic beverage in history, with a lineage that goes back 6,000 years. Nani Moon Meadery brings that long, storied past to the Garden Isle with a meadery and tasting room. This is a family-friendly space with an atmosphere akin to a down-to-earth winery where you can sip away on a tasting flight or one of their specialty cocktails. It’s worth it to make a reservation to be sure you can get a seat, though walk-ins are welcome. Have a taste there, or take a bottle home with you.
Don’t blame it on the alcohol. Go for non-alcoholic Aloha Ginger Beer instead, and get to enjoy a refreshing beverage brewed on the island without the headache tomorrow. The freshest Kauai water makes the base of their brew, with local ginger, honey, organic sugar, and seasonal citrus spicing it up. It makes an ideal addition to any cocktail or mocktail you can dream of.
And while they don’t have a tasting room where you can find their brew on tap, discover Aloha Ginger Beer’s local flavor at farmers' markets around the island. Every Saturday, find them at Puhi Market or Wednesdays at Kauai Culinary Market. And if you just can’t wait for that magical day of the week, they do have a retail location in Lihue.
You can always take the growler (or bottle, or can) back with you to enjoy from your island home base. Starry Night Lodging properties lend you a taste of what it’s like to feel at home in paradise. Book your stay to explore Kauai.