20th annual Kona Brewers Festival on Hawaii Island this weekend
If a cold craft beer on the beach sounds amazing right now, then you’ll probably really love what’s happening in Kailua-Kona this weekend.
Three days of beer-centric events and activities kick off on Thursday and culminate in the 20th annual Kona Brewers Festival this Sat., March 14.
The main event takes place at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel’s just-off-the-sand luau grounds from 2 til 6:30 p.m. Attendees will wash down gourmet island-style meats, fish and desserts from 30 Hawaii Island chefs with 80 craft ales and lagers from Hawaii and mainland U.S. breweries.
Well-known beer makers such as the Boston Beer Company (makers of Sam Adams), Gordon Biersch and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will be serving up their craft selections alongside regional breweries such as Kona Brewing Co., Mehana Brewing Company and Lanikai Brewing Company. Each of the 40 breweries scheduled to attend will have one or two beers on tap.
A ticket will get you an afternoon of live entertainment, unlimited food samples from area restaurants such as Amici Italian Bar and Grill and Ray’s on the Bay, eight four-ounce beer tastings of your choice and a commemorative event mug. Though you can no longer purchase them online, you may still be able to nab tickets in person at Kona Brewing Company pubs in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island (74-5612 Pawai Place) and on Oahu (Koko Marina Shopping Center, 7192 Kalanianole Highway). Tickets cost $75.
Other beer-related events leading up to the festival include an art auction with dinner and paired beer selections on Thurs., March 12, a booze cruise and the “Blues and Brews” concert on Fri., March 13, and a 5K/10K “Run for the Hops” race Saturday morning before the Festival. In conjunction with the three-day event, the Kona Brewers Festival Homebrew Competition will award ribbons in 28 beer, mead and cider categories to homebrewing entrants.
The Kona Brewers Festival is organized to promote craft beer in Hawaii and encourage professional brewers and chefs to collaborate. The event is also a fundraiser for various Hawaii environmental, educational and cultural causes. For a list of previous year’s donations and recipients, click here (and scroll to the bottom).