We are on our way back from Hawaii, and spent our last day in style. We got the chance to see the Maui Brewing Co. brewery, got to meet several people including brewers and then got the chance to meet Garrett Marrero. We actually met Garrett at the new brewery that is under construction. As a matter of fact, he was out there working… On a holiday! We will talk more about that later.
Maui Brewing Co. Brewpub
While in Maui we stayed near the Maui Brewing Co. brewpub. Actually, we stayed across the street. I’m not sure if we stayed there on purpose, you’ll have to ask Sheryl. [Note from Sheryl: Of course it was on purpose! I’m that good.] But we stayed in a condo and it was a GREAT location, had an awesome view of the beach, and was… Well, it was within walking distance of the brewpub.
When we landed on Saturday afternoon, we headed to the condo and walked to the brewpub. I told Sheryl that I wanted to try all of their beers before we did anything. The drive up there is nice, and we got to see the beach. But we made ourselves at home while at the brewery. We actually visited the brewpub 10 times while on the island, some days more than once, and tried all of the beers they had on tap.
Maui Brewing Co. Distributes several flagships beers to the mainland including:
- Mana Wheat
- Big Swell IPA
- CoCoNut Porter
- Bikini Blonde
They also distribute some limited releases, and while I haven’t liked those as much as the others, it is always nice to try new beers. While we were at the brewery, we found out what their next limited release will be. We were asked to keep quiet about it, but I can’t wait to try it! They had over 10 beers on tap at the brewpub that I’ve never seen before. I really liked the Double Overhead DIPA, the Craven’s Tripel and the Freight Train IPA. I also tried these:
- Barefoot Brew
- Hawaii 90 Wee Heavy
- Hi Standards IPA
- Red Cock Doppelbock
- Santa’s Little Helper
- Cheery Cordial
- Amber Reign
There were others, but it was a long trip. I can’t remember them all! I did track all of these on Untappd, but didn’t feel like digging through the list of beers. We drank a lot of Bourbon County Stout while we were there, so I know I tracked that a few times. (Did you hear about that? Maybe we will write another blog post about that. It was truly a Christmas miracle!)
Inside Maui Brewing Co.
Before we headed to Maui, Steene Routh recommended that I reach out to Garrett. Roth Kloth over at Papago Brewing Co. also recommended emailing him. So I did and he was quick to respond. After about 20 emails back and forth, we finally found some time to connect. It was our last day on the island, but he had Darren Moser meet us at the brewery for a private tour.
The brewery is located in Lahaina, hence the name of their most recent limited release Lahaiana Town Brown. I don’t like this style, and didn’t care for this beer. Good thing they have options! Anyway, we headed to the brewery and met Darren out front. He walked us around, told us about their operation, and introduced us to some of the brewers. To give you an idea of the experience brewing at Maui Brewing Co., they have brewers from Magic Hat Brewing Company, Anchor Brewing Company and Bell’s Brewery, Inc. They even recruited some talent from Four Peaks Brewing Company, right here in Tempe, Arizona.
As we walked through the brewery, Darren told us more about the brewery, brewing on the island and the cost of supplies. He also said, if something breaks or they need a part, it takes 4 days to get it. That can’t be easy when trying to run a business. He also discussed their cans. Maui Brewing doesn’t bottle, and actually gets their cans from Oahu. Darren explained how you can tell if a can is from Hawaii. They can to cut cost, and to be honest, it helps the beer taste better. Nothing beats an ice cold CoCoNut Porter on tap in Maui, though.
Oh, before we left, Darren took us upstairs and showed us “the lab.” he introduced us to their chemist and showed us around a little bit. They do a lot of research up there, and are investing a lot of money in what goes on in that room. Darren discussed the quality assurance that goes into their beer. “When someone opens a can of Big Swell IPA, they need to taste Big Swell IPA,” Darren said. Think about Budweiser. The beer isn’t very good, but regardless of where you drink it, it tastes the same. If they have done anything right, it’s that.
Expanding To Kihei
While we were touring the brewery, Darren was texting Garrett. We really wanted to meet him, and were willing to meet him somewhere. He had mentioned wanting us to write about their new location in Kihei, but based on what we have seen online, there isn’t much there. Regardless, that is where he wanted us to meet him.
Kihei is actually on the way to the airport, so it was on the way. Actually, when we left the brewery, we headed back to the brewpub for 1 more round of drinks. When we got to Kihei, we parked across the street and quickly found Garrett working out of the back of his truck. He was putting up lights in the parking lot, and was working on that when we arrived.
When they are done, there will be 13 lights in the parking lot. These lights are solar powered and sit atop empty kegs. The kegs are filled with concrete, but it is a really unique concept. The kegs were actually donated by various breweries around the country including Stone, Ninkasi and Ballast Point.
After we introduced ourselves to him, Garrett showed us around and discussed the new project. He kept comparing it to Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido. There is now a Stone in Liberty Station and in downtown San Diego, but their main brewing facility is in Escondido. I asked Garrett if he worked with Greg Koch at Stone, and he said, “Yeah, we worked with Greg and some others at Stone. They actually gave us their plans and discussed what they did wrong and what they did right. It really did help inspire what we are trying to do here.”
Speaking of the Bourbon County, we took Garrett a bottle. He said he has had it, but not since 2010. I hope he enjoys it, as it is one of our favorite beers.
When finished, the new brewing facility will allow them to produce more beer, increase distribution, and hopefully allow them to experiment with some new recipes. Maui Brewing Co. is currently the largest brewery in Hawaii, and while there are plans for more breweries, Garrett isn’t worried. He actually thinks it will help.
If you make it to Maui, please say hello to Garret for us. Aloha!!!
Garrett is running most of these social networks right now. Like I said, Garrett pretty much does it all. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Garrett is originally from Poway, California. You might remember our biggest fan Erick Engel. He is also from Poway, and knows Garrett personally. It’s a small world, and it wouldn’t be a blog post without mentioning Erick.