Akaka Falls, Big Island, Hawaii
I don't think I've disguised my deep and abiding love for all things New and Belgium when it comes to beer. I recently fell all over a coriander and bitter orange peel laced summer quaff called Mothership Wit Beer (New Belgium's first organic beer) and I do highly recommend that one as well, but I've got a bead on a fascinating new hot weather beer. Kona Brewing Company -- the self-same outfit that introduced my confused system to the awesomeness of coffee and beer -- has a new summer sipper out.
Wailua Wheat, coolly saronged by a bright, tropical label, is named for Wailua Falls on Maui's famed Hana Highway and brewed with tropical passion fruit. Or, if you're from the islands "lilikoi." Now, I'm not a fruit beer lover. I freely admit that I did the raspberry-blueberry-cherry beer thing in college, and they're probably the reason why the mere idea of fruit beers chokes my throat and offends my tongue. However, this is not what I would call a fruit beer. At least, not in the Boston definition of fruit beers.
The tart passion fruit in Wailua Wheat is neither sweet nor cloying, and its twangy edge matches as well with the crisp and hoppy wheat beer as a wedge of lemon in a cloudy pull of Hefeweizen. It's the heat and throb of the tropics crashing up against the centuries-old tradition of brewing and when the tide ebbs out, you're left with this icy bottle of exotic sunshine.