So what better way to experience such a change to my senses than going to what people described to me as paradise. Where was paradise? I asked a few good friends I knew. Many had said it's in Hawaii, but more specifically on the "Garden Island" as it is known called Kauai.
Kauai is one of the smaller islands of Hawaii, with a population of about 70,000 people. It is filled with gorgeous scenery from an intense wet climate, birds and flowers full of color that you wont see anywhere else, and then surrounded by a gorgeous ocean and numerous beaches that feel like walking on the softest corn meal you have ever set foot on.
Repeated words and phrases kept coming up when I spoke with people about the place. "Best Island". "Paradise on Earth". "Utopia". "Intensely Green". "Perfect". Sounded like a perfect place for a vacation I thought, but what about the drink? I of course also thought about the food (which by the way I strongly suggest you stick to lunch and street side trucks and shacks where it excels far beyond waitered table service but that's another story...), but was there good drinking also in paradise? I am happy to report that there is.
The irony though when you first visit Kauai, is that the last thing you want to think about is food and drink. Your senses are immediately drawn to what you see first as smells and taste take a backseat. I also noticed that island culture here is really drawn to outdoor activity. People are up early and in the water doing everything imaginable, surfing, snorkeling, fishing, kite boarding.. you name it. It seemed like the last thing people wanted to do was care about food and drink. But not our hero. Why can't you have the best of both worlds? And in many ways you can.
Shortly after I landed I found myself shopping for beer. What irony and priorities huh?
Besides some occasional beer found in markets, the island believe it or not actually has two breweries. One of them is Kauai Island Brewing Company who is just outside the town of Hanapepe.
Not to be outdone also, is Kauai Beer Company, which is located on the Eastern area of the island in Lihue.
|Kauai Beer Company's lineup|
Unlike Kauai Island Brewing, Kauai Beer Co. focuses on German styles of beer and specifically lagers.
Still drinking in Kauai does not exclusively mean beer. On a trip to a local market, an interesting product was on the shelves, a dark glowing blue labelled bottle that appeared to look like Blue Nun wine. Going out of your way for Blue Nun in Hawaii? Hell no! Kauai has a local meadery called Nani Moon Mead that makes tropical honey wines.
Excellent vanilla notes, with some chocolate character however, it's honey character and mix of flavors seem to clash a bit for my personal tastes. A better option I enjoyed was the Winter Sun which is made with local wildflower honey, starfruit, and lilikoi.
But life would not be complete for an island drink adventure if there was no rum. Luckily Kauai provides this as well. The Koala Rum company uses tall cane sugar from the islands and currently has 5 rum products.
Now that's one great work schedule if you ask me.
So if you can pull yourself away from majestic sea turtles, helicopter tours, and suntanning on the beach, you can find inside some real treats on this Garden Island. After all, as we shared stories of island beauty with sips of rum, beer, and mead with others in between, what better way to experience paradise? Truly the best of both worlds.