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Wailua Wheat

Judges Rating: 
75
Aroma: 
21 / 24
Appearance: 
5 / 6
Flavor: 
29 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
6 / 10
Overall Impression: 
14 / 20

Snugly ensconced on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona Brewing has been brewing its two flagship beers and a rotating lineup of seasonal brews since 1995. As distribution grows and production expands, Kona’s products are showing up in more markets. Accented with lilikoi (passionfruit) for a distinctly tropical fruitiness, Wailua Wheat is Kona’s spring and summer seasonal. In addition to passionfruit, Wailua Wheat’s aroma abounds with notes of lychee, apricot, and orange blossom honey that bound from the glass and suffuse the room with the lush scent of the tropics. Tom was intrigued by the medley of peach, ripe pineapple, and honey aromas, but he found the nose lacked any malt or wheat character. The faint sourness in the nose reminded Pete of “sweetened Key lime juice,” and unlike Tom, he teased out some rounded Pilsner malt and spicy wheat aromas. Wailua Wheat pours a deep golden that is almost orange and is brilliantly clear. The head, though brilliant white, is rather small and collapses all too quickly for a wheat-based beer. Passionfruit is prominent in the flavor, presenting itself as an almost lemony tartness that bounces up against a slight grainy maltiness. Tim found the malt flavor “almost non-existent,” but did enjoy the snappy lemon zest and sweet mango flavors. Pete’s initial impression was “sour, grape-like” flavor that faded into grainy malt. Both judges commented on the absence of hop bitterness and lack of integration. “The flavors seem to be fighting each other,” said Tim. Wailua Wheat is an intriguing beer and would be a welcome centerpiece at any beach party.

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