Brew review: Kona’s Longboard Island Lager

Kona Longboard Lager
Kona Longboard Lager

Brewery: Kona Brewing Co. (Kona, Hawaii)
Style: American Pale Lager
ABV: 4.6%

Summer beers are the kind to be enjoyed at the beach, on the patio, or after mowing the lawn. They should be thirst-quenching, refreshing, and on the lighter side. Many styles of beer make great summer beers – Belgian Wits, Hefeweizens, Weizens, Pale Ales, IPAs, and American Lagers to name a few.

The American Pale Lager can be a great summer beer as well. Being true to style, they should be crisp, balanced, and refreshing without tasting hoppy or malty. The American Pale Lager is pretty much an upscale, more complex American Adjunct Lager (Bud, Miller, Coors etc.) sans adjuncts, basically meaning they aren’t brewed using any rice or corn like the Bud/Miller/Coors crowd.

Today’s refreshing summer treat is the tropical sounding Longboard Island Lager, an American Pale Lager made by a brewery in a tropical locale – Kona Brewing Company (Kona, Hawaii). It pours very clear, with a slightly-shaded, bright yellow color and an extra-white foam head that dissipates quickly. Bubbles cascade up from the bottom of the glass, it looks clean and refreshing. The nose is pleasant and not overpowering. There is some earthy spice on the nose, along with some citrus and a hint of sulfur, which is common for lagers. The first flavor noticeable is of sweet malt with a slight fruitiness, followed by some subtle spicy citrus and lemongrass notes. It finishes mostly dry with a slight honey-lemony sweetness along with a medium and surprising bitterness at the end. Noble hops give it a spicy and earthy German influence, a nice unexpected touch that adds to the complexity. The body is light to medium and very smooth.

It’s a summer beer that satisfies both in drinkability and taste. It’s very refreshing, crisp, and chuggable yet has a restrained and delicate complexity. There are actually quite a few different and interesting flavors going on and, if gulped too fast, it would be easy to miss the subtle scope of flavors entirely. The famous Ferris Bueller line comes to mind “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It’s an interesting and very drinkable session, beach, and “lawnmower” beer that will pair well with chicken, fruit,  seafood, and salads.

Who’ll Like This Beer: Most people will like this Kona Lager, especially fans of Sam Adams Boston Lager or some of the Euro Lagers (Heineken, Stella, etc.). The Bud, Miller, and Coors (BMC) crowd should give this upscale lager a try.

Little Known Fact: Hawaiian words are found under each bottle cap, along with their English translation.

The Verdict: Overall the Kona Longboard Island Lager really delivers, it’s everything a summer beer should be- refreshing, crisp, and thirst quenching. It would be easy to drink 10 after “hanging 10”, although it ‘s not advisable to actually drink 10 beers of any kind at one sitting.

Rating: 7.5/10 Mugs


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