The Brew Fest is a fundraiser for the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, which is Maui’s main venue for concerts. We’re really lucky to have the MACC on Maui, as it continues to bring incredible performers and culture to our islands.
The event featured 26 breweries from around the country [including Hawai‘i, of course], and 54 distinct craft beers and imports. It also boasted pupu [appetizers] from 16 restaurants and caterers around the island and live music. Advance tickets for Brew Fest were $45 for general admission and $75 for VIP [which included a parking spot out front, meeting the brew masters, and being let in an hour before general admission]. They both included 8 beer samples and unlimited pupu.
This was really Ben’s celebration, so we opted for VIP tickets. Since I don’t really drink, I was most excited for all the food, but I was also really looking forward to meeting some brew masters, which never happened. Although I don’t necessarily feel as though it lived up to it’s promises, I am so glad went with the VIP tickets because it was so worth getting first dibs on whatever we wanted without having to stand in long lines.
It was a perfect, gorgeous Saturday! We went in at two, got our awesome 4 oz taster glasses and wristbands [each time you taste a beer they take a tab off], and got to tasting!
The boys are big on beer, so they had already tasted some of the options, but there was still plenty for them to try. Ben really enjoys red beers while Zak likes his IPAs, so they set off in search of their faves…
and I set out to test pupu!
Because it was a festival based on beer, the options weren’t so healthy and I wound up passing off more than a few plates to the guys. I did find a few winners, though! My favorites of the day were:
- Both selections from Cake Bakery: Prosciutto-Parmesan Croissant (pictured above) + Blue Cheese Pecan Shortbread Cookie [it was so dense it was scone-like!]
- 808 Deli: Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Zia Maria’s Gelato: Whiskey Gelato [yes, I’m serious. It was out of this world good!]
Also, a big mahalo to the handful of companies who were serving vegetarian options.
By the time 3 o’clock rolled around and general admission was let in, it was blazing hot.
Mom joined Ben, Zak and I at this point, and we set off to try some fruity beer [just FYI, mead does not equal beer. Ick]. Mom and I aren’t big fans of beer, but we managed to have a few sweeter favorites:
Stone Brewing Co’s Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean
Boston Beer Co’s Chocolate Cherry Bock
Maui Brewing Co’s La Perouse White
Maui Brewing Co’s Root Beer [free!]
The beer was alright, but I kept going back to my good old standard
Mom and I took turns fetching more beer for the guys [they actually wound up getting 16 samples each instead of 8 because, even if we really liked a beer, Mom and I only took a few sips from it]. They couldn’t keep up with all the beer we were bringing back.
A few of the guys’ favorites:
Big Island Brewhaus’ Red Giant
Caldera Brewing Co’s Caldera Ginger Beer
Maui Brewing Co’s Imperial CoCoNut Porter
Stone Brewing Co’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard
There really was something for everyone! We found a great spot in front of the stage, saw a bunch of friends, and before we knew it, five hours had flown by, the clouds finally relieved us from the beating sunshine, and the moon greeted us above Haleakala.
I was a bit weary about the Brew Fest simply because I’m not a drinker, but I have to tell you that I had a great time! The venue was fabulous, there was lots of great food and beer, and it was very well organized. Even with so many people, the lines moved quickly and the food vendors did an excellent job of putting out food as fast as they possibly could!
At first we thought $75 for VIP was really steep, but honestly, I’m sure we all got our money’s worth, and we all would love to do VIP again. I am definitely looking forward to next year’s Brewers Fest!
Are you a fan of beer at all?
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