This summer has been more of an IPA summer for me. Something about the citrusy bitterness from a cold IPA has really been doing the trick this year, and its been a HOT Summer so far!
But an old standby of mine for the summer is a nice, cold Wheat beer! Light and citrusy, a good Wit can help turn a scorcher into something more bearable. (At least for awhile.)
So, when I was contacted by the awesome PR rep from Kona Brewing (who make my most favorite-est coffee porter) asking if I’d like to try the Kona Wailau Wheat, I said SURE! (She didn’t have to twist my arm too much actually!)
So far, I’ve pretty much liked everything I’ve tried from Kona. Along with the aforementioned Pipeline Porter, their Longboard Lager was one of the first “fizzy yellow beers” that I tried that helped change my attitude about pilsners and that they were not all bad!
Wailua Wheat looks and pours like any standard wheat beer (see pic) and there’s nothing special to note about it in that regard. However, the little special extra ingredient is a healthy dose of Passion Fruit which definitely comes through in the nose and taste.
The passion fruit adds a sweetness to the aroma beyond the norm. If you were to blind taste-test this beer, you would know before you even got the glass up to your face that something was different. Its a little strong for my taste, but then again, I’m not one to indulge often in fruity beers so it really stood out to me.
(Fruit beer regulars might be less impressed?)
Once I got used to it, I found the aroma to enjoyable, and I could certainly see enjoying a fruity treat on a tropical beach someplace – but alas, I was in my kitchen in New Jersey! Oh well.
The beer’s taste was also dominated by passion fruit flavors, which again, to me, was a bit much at first. I had to get through about 1/2 of my glass before I started to appreciate the flavors, and again, thought it a nice change for Summer.
The passion fruit is not a subtle addition to what is an otherwise regular wheat beer, like Long Trail’s Blackbeary Wheat for example. Rather, Kona’s Wailua Wheat IS a passion fruit centric ale.
My take? Not being a big fan of fruit-flavored beers, I’m not sure its something I would buy for myself. It was just TOO passion fruity. I did grow to enjoy it, and I did happily work through my samples. 🙂
(FWIW, I also found that I enjoyed this beer more on the cold side than I would normally.)
On the other hand, if you DO enjoy fruit flavored beers, this would be a GREAT choice for summer refreshment. No subtle fruityness here!
Its passion fruit, front and center!
I’m going with 2.75 out of 5 stars!