Whether you’re hiking up Haleakalā or simply soaking up the sun, a holiday on the Hawaiian island of Maui can trigger an intense need for liquid refreshment. Fortunately, the island has several distillers, brewers and winemakers that produce drinks from island-grown ingredients including sugar cane and coconuts to pineapples and lemons. Here’s what’s brewing on the island of Maui:
This family-owned spirits maker, which recently opened a new solar-powered distillery on 80 verdant acres near the Upcountry town of Kula, produces vodka distilled from organic sugarcane. To learn more about the production process, you can tour the farm and distilling facility, which includes a 60-foot-tall column still. Alas, local laws don’t currently allow on-property tastings, but you’ll find Ocean Vodka at restaurants and stores across Hawaii (and in 30 mainland states).
Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch
Follow the Kula Highway south past the turnoff for Haleakalā National Park, and you’ll reach Maui’s only winery. Established nearly 40 years ago on the grounds of Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui’s Winery produces several traditional grape wines and others made from island-grown pineapple, including the semi-dry Maui Blanc with its subtle citrus notes. The winery is open for tastings every day; take one of the twice-daily tours (10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) to learn more about the vineyard’s history and winemaking methods.
Maui Brewing Co.
Beer drinkers have several local brews to choose from at Maui Brewing Co., Hawaii’s largest craft brewery. You can go mainstream with its popular Bikini Blonde or Big Swell IPA, but it also concocts more unusual flavors using island ingredients. Try its Mana wheat beer made with pineapple and its rich and chocolatey coconut porter. Periodically, it even brews a beer made from breadfruit. Sample wares from Maui Brewing Co. in its Lahaina brewery tasting room or at its brewpub in the Kahana Gateway Center.
When you think “limoncello,” you usually think Italy, but Maui has its own version of this lemon liqueur, called Mauicello, made using local citrus. The staff grates locally-grown lemons by hand, then marinates the zest in a neutral alcohol for six to eight weeks before adding a simple syrup made from Maui sugar. Mauicello’s production facilities aren’t open to the public, but you can purchase it at groceries and liquor stores around the island. Just the thing for your sunset apéritif on the lanai.
Prefer to indulge in a non-alcoholic brew? Then head to the East Maui town of Haiku for some freshly made kombucha. At the Maui Kombucha café and tasting bar, you can sample several types of this fermented, tea-based drink that’s brewed on the premises. Selections change daily, but good choices include the mild and effervescent Jasmine or the stronger MK Dark, which resembles a fizzy, fruity, slightly tangy beer. You’ll find the café at the back of the Aloha ‘Aina Center complex, across the street from the Haiku Cannery.
Photos Courtesy of Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui Kombucha