The More You Know…About BEER!: Wailua Wheat

Wailua (Wheat Ale brewed with Passion Fruit)
By Kona Brewery (Kona, Hawaii)
355mL (12 fl. oz.)
5.4% ABV

Wailua Wheat

Wailua Wheat

Bottle Description:
Wailua is Hawaiian for two fresh water streams mingling. This was just the inspiration needed for our limited release Wheat Ale brewed with tropical passion fruit. A refreshing citrusy, sun-colored ale with the cool taste of Hawaii.

I forget when the official date for the “start of summer” is, but Wheat Ales are in season. Actually, Wheat Ales and DIPAs are the main styles brewed for summer. Don’t be surprised to see most breweries carrying these styles as their summer seasonal (Samuel Adams Summer, Anchor Summer, AleSmith YuleSmith, etc.) Kona Brewing Company, opened in 1994 brews delicious beers with a touch of Hawaiian culture blended in (or at least so I feel when I drink one). Bottled on 5/29/09. This beer is less than a month old; a very hard thing to acquire so young considering Kona Brewery is all the way in Hawaii.

Well-carbonated and not bottle-conditioned (no yeast sediments, soapy bubbles). This beer pours out dark gold in color with golden yellow hues with a bright white head that does not persist. Brilliant clarity. Smells of grainy wheat and light passion fruit flavors. No banana or clove aromas perceived (as those characteristics are more common with German Hefeweizens). Light bready malty sweetness carries into the background. The first taste is covered by a strong carbonic bite but fades into moderately wheaty flavors with passionfruit as a support to the malt/wheat. No hop aroma or hop flavors are present but there is an extremely low hop bitterness. The flavors are also reminiscent of pineapples. Light-medium bodied and quite refreshing with its high carbonation. Although I shouldn’t assume, I feel as if this beer benefits a lot from using an American ale yeast as opposed to the German Hefeweizen yeast since the banana/clove characteristics may have clashed with the aromas of the passion fruit and bready wheat. I can see myself enjoying this in someone’s backyard or next to a beach. A great summer beer. I’m a big fan of passion fruit and I think Kona Brewing Company did a great job pairing this flavor with a American Wheat Beer. However, I wish the passion fruit wasn’t as subtle (passion fruit has a light flavor that can be easily masked by more overwhelming flavors) and I hope to see a bottle-conditioned version.

Category 20: Fruit Beer
Aroma: 9/12
Appearance: 2/3
Flavor: 16/20
Mouthfeel: 5/5
Overall: 7/10
Total: 39/50 — B+

-Ant

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