The Island Lager by Kona Brewing Co. is currently one of my favorite beers. Since this is the blog’s first beer post, there are no Top 10 or 20 Lists yet. The fact that I chose Longboard Island Lager as one of my first posts, however, should tell you something.
If I had to estimate where it would fall, I’d say it makes my Top 15 list. I will also add that one of the Kona Brewing Co.’s beers easily cracks my Top 5. However, that story is for a future post.
I discovered this beer while on vacation in Hawaii in July 2021 because it was everywhere. I’m really picky about beers, so I grew frustrated there were not more beer choices at the hotel bar and all the stores I checked. I was looking for some of my favorite craft beers to stock in my hotel room fridge, but all I saw were Kona Brewing Company selections, the usual mass-market brands, and a few popular Japanese brands, Sapporo, Asahi, and Kirin. I settle for tall cans of Sapporo and Kirin.
Near the end of my trip, I grabbed a local draft from the bar because it was offered at a lower price. I was on the run and didn’t think to remember the name. I told the bartender what I liked (lagers, ales, fruity, not too heavy, not too light) and let him select my beer. I do remember as I walked around at the pool thinking, damn, this beer is kind of good.
A week after my vacation, I was home shopping in the beer section of my nearby grocery store. “Humm, what do I feel like today,” I asked myself.
“A Shiner Strawberry Blonde, Sam Adams Summer Ale, UFO White?” You get the picture of what I was in the mood for. Just then, I noticed on the store shelf for the first time the beer I saw all in Hawaii.
They offered pilsner, lager, and an IPA. I rarely drink pilsners unless I’m in the mood for something light. I drink IPAs even less frequently than pilsners. I don’t dislike them. In general, I feel like the taste is too aggressive. It’s like my tongue is on a date that wants to get right to it! That left the lager as the obvious choice.
I usually have two beers with dinner. And, I prefer to drink beer from a glass (frosted is a plus). I feel like I get a more uninterrupted taste.
All I remember is thinking, My God! What a missed opportunity in Hawaii. This is an incredibly good beer! This was that beer from the bar.
There’s something very clean and clear about the Longboard’s taste. Straight-forward delight, vibrant and charming.
I read other reviews before writing this review to see what beer influencers thought about it. In general, nearly all said the same thing. Clean taste, and without any characteristics to complain about. In other words, a great-tasting beer!