"Beer is living proof God loves us and wants us to be happy."
- Benjamin Franklin
The "mother of all craft beer weeks" is upon us, just as temperatures are soaring. So come quench your thirst Saturday at Maui Arts & Cultural Center's second annual Maui Brewers Festival.
AUBREY HORD photo
Members of the Primo Warriors sipped some multihued beers at last year’s event. This Saturday, more craft beers as well as more food booths will add to the fun in the sun. In addition, the designated drivers’ booth will pour fresh and natural Maui-made root beer.
Flowing from 3 to 7 p.m. outdoors on the Events Lawn in Kahului, the brewers fest is a fundraiser for the MACC's arts and educational programs.
But unlike some of the MACC's other events, this is no highbrow affair. So please leave your opera glasses at home. Instead, dress casually, enjoy live music, sip craft beers from a selection of 26 breweries, munch pupu from top restaurants and go for prize giveaways.
"Last year was a blast!" says Garrett Marrero, owner of Maui Brewing Co., presenter of the event along with the MACC?and Paradise Beverages.
Maui Brewers Festival: Hours are from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Outdoors on the Events Lawn of Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. (Bring your lawn chairs or mats.)
General admission $45: Includes eight 4- ounce tastings of beers, a commemorative pilsner cup, unlimited pupu, desserts, live music and free event parking.
Happy hour package $75: Includes reserved parking, early entry at 2 p.m., private sampling with brewmasters, plus special gift and general admission.
For tickets: Visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org.
"This year, we're adding even more craft brewers who will be pouring some amazing beers never seen before in Hawaii. All of the local breweries will be represented and we'll have 11 from the Mainland."
For instance, Oskar Blues of Longmont, Colo., will pour Mama's Lil' Yella Pilz and Dale's Pale Ale, while Caldera of Ashland, Ore., will present their freshest Hibiscus beer and Uncommon Brewers out of Santa Cruz, Calif., will have your taste buds doing the twist and shout with Siamese Twin and Bacon Brown Stout.
"These are craft beers over imports. No domestic mass producers, either. You'll only find many of these at a beer festival," Marrero says. "These are all different from what you get at your local bar."
Other participants include Ballast Point Brewing Co., Boston Beer Co., Coronado Brewing Co., Deschutes Brewery, Hawaii Nui Brewing, Moylan's Brewing Co., Primo Brewing & Malting Co., Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., and Waimea Brewing Co.
"They all were chosen for their beer culture. None makes commodity beer, you know, the fizzy, yellow stuff. They make craft beers known for quality, uniqueness and flavor. They all play a big part in the growing rebirth of good beer in America."
Each will pour two beers and Maui Brewing Co. will pour four, including Double Overhead India Pale Ale, Mana Wheat, Steam Roller and Smoke Stack Lager. Marrero and his wife just got back from New Orleans and will make a jambalaya. After savoring, I'm confident it will be a crowd pleaser at the event.
"It's spot on - it does New Orleans' jambalayas justice," says a proud Marrero. "Sure, it's spicy, but not to the point of turning off the mainstream. But it doesn't mean that we'll make it mild either."
As for the other food vendors, there will be 16 in all with something for everyone. Monsoon India will make aloo bonda (smashed potato in mild spices wrapped in chickpea flour); Flatbread Co. will bake Mopsy kalua pork pizzas; and Mulligan's on the Blue will do curry fries and Irish pork sausage on a stick.
The other vendors include Alexander's Famous Fish, Three's Catering, 808 Bistro, Maui Tacos, Food for the Soul Wow-Wee Maui's Kava Bar & Grill, Whole Foods, Star Anise, Maui Culinary Academy/ Sodexo, Cake Bakery, Zia Maria's Gelato and Maui Kazowie Kettlecorn. "Our food booth is right next to our beer booth, so you can jump in line to get one and then the other," says Marrero,
In addition, at the event Maui Brewing Co. will launch its all-natural root beer made with Maui vanilla bean, Maui honey and Maui cane sugar. Caffeine free, it will be the refreshing beverage poured at the popular designated driver's booth.
Marrero will also offer a round-trip transportation package via bus from his MBC pub in Kahana as well as from Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei. It includes a MBC T-shirt. Talk about a pub crawl, this will be a fun and safe way to travel.
Live music by Gomega and Off Tomorrow will also be a big part of the event fun. Take a sip, have a bite and get your groove on. Then kick back and relax on your lawn chairs or beach mats you are encouraged to bring from home.
"The festival introduces the MACC to a whole new audience and helps support Hawaii-based purveyors and local products in a fun atmosphere that benefits the MACC's educational and community programs," says Marketing Manager Karee Carlucci.