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First Look: Maui Brewing Company Waikiki

Maui Brewing Company opened its second brewpub location in the heart of Waikiki this past January 2017. The 435 seat capacity, 18,000 square foot establishment replaces what was formerly Jimmy Buffett’s, on the second floor of the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort on Kalakaua Avenue. Prior to Jimmy Buffett’s, the space was the showroom of the late and great Don Ho.

MBC also has a tasting room in Kihei, Maui where their brewery is, as well as its first brewpub on the west side of Maui in Lahaina. They’re planning to open a third brewpub in Kailua on the island of Oahu some time next year.

Maui Brewing Company is owned and operated by CEO Chris Thibaut, along with veteran restaurateur Bill Terry, with Terry Lynch as Executive Chef at the Waikiki restaurant.

While I live literally within minutes and steps away, several weeks ago was my first time walking into MBC.W, and I was FLOORED at how AWESOME it is! So much so, I actually returned a few times since!

They really were able to bring the outside of Waikiki and its ambiance in, with a decor theme that’s a perfect blend of laid back island style and rustic-meets-industrial repurposed warehouse design; the latter of which typical for many modern brewpubs, such as, say Honolulu Beerworks in Kaka’ako.

My first impressions of MBC.W are it’s as much a great restaurant as it is a great brewpub, with a creative menu that truly reflects Hawaii’s diverse culture. Along with the few bites I’ve already tried, response from guests I’ve had conversations with who’ve ordered food mostly raved about it; a few noting they’d return just to have lunch or dinner here. Ditto!

Of course craft beer is the focal point, and they’ve got something for everyone. Along with every variety MBC produces, they’ve also got a few to offer from other fellow local breweries as well, including Lanikai and Honolulu Beerworks. It must be noted that this is actually a “tap house”, meaning they don’t brew the beer on premises; the MBC styles are all brewed back on Maui.

MBC.W also has a fantastic daily Happy Hour from 3:30 to 5:30pm, with MBC flagship draft beers just $4.75 each, MBC limited draft beers $6.00, 50% off all pupu menu items and $10 each for all pizzas on the menu. The Happy Hour recurs again later from 10:30pm until closing at 12am daily.  Them Happy Hour deals really are great prices, especially for Waikiki! 50% off pupus? Sweet!

What also struck me from the several visits I’ve made since, are the folks who work there. GREAT TEAM! Everyone is super friendly and accommodating, while it appears there’s good morale and operational synchronicity. In other words, it’s a well-oiled machine. As important as that, the patrons I’ve met there are wonderful. A nice mix of both locals and visitors, all of whom I’ve had nothing but fun and intelligent conversations with. Not to mention the local musicians who play there are also fantastic, both in talent and Aloha spirit.

All in all, I’m VERY IMPRESSED with Maui Brewing Company’s new home in Waikiki. They totally nailed this one.

Following is a photographic tour of MBC.W. Enjoy. ;-)


Maui Brewing Company is located on the second floor of the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort


There are two ways to get there: either up the escalators to the left of the establishment, or via staircase or elevator on the right, located outside along the sidewalk on Kalakaua Avenue


MBC.W entrance staircase, featuring 70 foot kinetic wall facing Kalakaua Avenue


MBC logo shop


Outdoor lanai seating


Two Foosball tables


Shuffleboard


Main dining room


Live local entertainment throughout the afternoon and evening daily


Vaihi with Braddah Sam Longi of ‘Local Kine Grindz’ TV fame.. he sang the LKG theme song for me!


The Kapu Duo (Sonny and mom Marsha Kapu), with Marsha on Pakini (Washtub Bass)


The bar seats about 50 people


Bar view from the back side corner, facing the dining room and Kalakaua Ave.


Booth seating lines the back wall of the establishment, behind the bar


MBC house flagship and limited brew taps


House and Comrade brew taps


MBC.W bartender Drew serves up an ice cold Big Swell IPA


Bartender Diane serves up some ice cold Maui Brew


Big Swell IPA: tropical citrus hops burst from this dry-hopped india pale ale; ABV: 6.8 IBU: 82 ~ $6.75 ($4.75 during Happy Hour!)


COCONUT HIWA PORTER: a robust dark ale with hand-toasted coconut & hints of mocha; ABV: 6.0 IBU: 30 ~ $6.75 ($4.75 during Happy Hour!)


PINEAPPLE MANA WHEAT: Maui Gold pineapple gives sweet aroma to this smooth-bodied brew;  ABV: 5.5 IBU: 18 ~ $6.75 ($4.75 during Happy Hour!)


BIKINI BLONDE LAGER: a clean, crisp & refreshing helles, perfect any time; ABV: 5.2 IBU: 21 ~ $6.75 ($4.75 during Happy Hour!)


MBC employs a variety of glassware to optimize the formation of the “head” (foam at the top), aroma and taste of each style of beer (left to right): 16 oz. Shaker Pint, 16 oz. Nonick Pint, 16 oz. Pilsner Pint, 16 oz. Heffeweizen Pint, 12 oz. Goblet and 4 oz. Fluted Taster’s Glass


MBC CROWLER: your choice of Maui Brewing Co. draft beer in a 32 oz can sealed on site ~$11


MBC Quick Pickles ~ $4 ($2 during Happy Hour!)


EDAMAME-PEA POTSTICKERS: water chestnuts, chile-basil dipping sauce ~ $13 ($6.50 during Happy Hour!)


HOUSE CUT FRIES: truffle oil & Naked Cow cheese ~ $8.50 ($4.25 during Happy Hour!)


AVOCADO TOAST: radish, cilantro, macadamia nuts, sriracha salt and lemon ~ $8 ($4 during Happy Hour!)


CRISPY CALAMARI: Sriracha mayo, pineapple, green onion, lime, Thai chili sauce ~ $13 ($6.50 during Happy Hour!)


OKINAWAN TATER TOTS: sweet potato style, smoky house-made ketchup ~ $8.50 ($4.25 during Happy Hour!)


AHI POKE TACOS: Kahuku sea asparagus, crispy Sun Noodle wontons ~ $19 ($9.50 during Happy Hour!)


MBC NACHOS: crispy corn tortillas, melty cheese, Hawaiian chilies, guacamole ~ $15 ($7.50 during Happy Hour!)


MBC NACHOS (custom order with pulehu steak added)


CHICKEN WINGS: huli sauce, crunchy slaw, lemon-curry vin ~ $14 ($7 during Happy Hour!)


HINT O’ SPICE MAC SALAD (ala carte side dish) ~ $4


KEIKI MAC ‘N CHEESE ~ $8


BIKINI BLONDE FISH N’ CHIPS: fresh mahi, house cut fries, crunchy slaw, Hawaiian tartar ~ $22


FRESH MAHI TACOS: local grilled mahi, house-made tortillas, roasted tomatillo salsa, fresh guacamole ~$22


KEIKI CHEESE PIZZA ~ $8


THE ORIGAMI: vine ripened tomato, mozzarella, ripped basil, olive oil, red sauce ~ $14 ($10 during Happy Hour!)


THE FORAGER: Small Kine mushrooms, fresh herbs, roasted garlic, white sauce ~ $16 ($10 during Happy Hour!)


A look at the wood-fired crust of the Forager Pizza


THE BREWMASTER: Kukui spicy sausage, pepperoni, roasted bell peppers, olives, red sauce ~ $18.50 ($10 during Happy Hour!)


The Brewmaster slice


MBC GRIDDLE CHEESE BURGER: shaved red onion, butter lettuce, cheddar, 8 island sauce ~ $13.50


JALAPEÑO BACON BURGER: house-made jalapeño bacon, fried avocado, jack cheese, cilantro mayo ~ $16.50


BLUE CHEESE BURGER: blue cheese sauce, crispy onion strings ~ $15


AHI POKE BOWL: local tuna, local milled rice, kimchi salad, quick pickles, nori ~ $19


Pomai with MBC friends Danny and Sarah


Pomai with Marsha (Kalima) Kapu and son Sonny Kapu, musical entertainers at MBC.W

Don Ho, second from left, sits with Sam Kapu, left, Angel Pablo, Patty Swalley and Tokyo Joe, members of his show-business family, in this 1976 photo. Photo source: Honolulu Star Bulletin

Not to go off topic, however after meeting and having some pleasant wala’au (talk story) time with Marsha Kapu, wife of Sam Kapu, famous radio DJ and local personality, it dawned on me how cool it would be to do a spin-off titled “Six Degrees of Don Ho“, a spin on the famous parlor game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon“.

The premise in the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” being, somehow within six or less ways, any given person in Hollywood is connected with Kevin Bacon. Either they’ve worked directly with Kevin Bacon, or someone who’s worked with or knows Kevin works with them. Da’ kine, “Your moddah’s aunty’s uncle’s nephew’s best friend’s cousin’s wife’s son”, laddat. Oh wait, that’s seven degrees. lol

Six Degrees of Don Ho:

•  Marsha (Kalima) Kapu is married to Sam Kapu. Sam Kapu was a close friend of and entertained with Don Ho. Thus, Marsha Kapu has a Don Ho factor of 2.
• Pomai’s Godmother is Nalani Kele. Nalani Kele once dated and remained close friends with Jimmy Borges. Jimmy Borges was a close friend of and entertained with Don Ho. Thus, Pomai has a Don Ho factor of 3.

If so, how do you fit within the “Six Degrees of Don Ho”? Fun stuff!

Anyways, back to Maui Brewing Company Waikiki, here’s the handcrafted beers menu:

Download MBC Waikiki’s complete lunch and dinner menu PDF here. (current as of 4/2017)

Summing it up, Maui Brewing Company is seriously BOMB DOT COM. Next time you’re in “Waikz”, you definitely gotta’ check it out!

Maui Brewing Company
2300 Kalakaua Avenue (2nd floor of the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort)
Honolulu, Hawaii  96815

Tel. (808) 843-2739
www.MauiBrewingCo.com (<—full menu available there)

Related links:
Maui Brewing Co. opens first brewpub in Waikiki – Pacific Business News
Maui Brewing Company (Waikiki) – Yelp user reviews
Waikiki Brewing Company – Tasty Island
Honolulu Beerworks – Tasty Island


7 thoughts on “First Look: Maui Brewing Company Waikiki

  • April 23, 2017 at 12:27 pm
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    What did you think about the pizza specifically? We’ll be making our 4th trip to your beautiful island in a week and I’ve been looking into this spot. I always bombard my wife with seafood everything, I figured this place may be a nice escape for her, haha. Plus, coal/wood fired pizza is always the best, so I’ve got high hopes.

    Reply
    • April 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm
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      Kenny,

      I tried a slice each of the Forager and Brewmaster, both shared by “new friends” sitting next to me, and thought the crust is outstanding. Exactly what you’d expect of a brick oven style pizza crust, with a nice ‘n toasty taste ‘n texture, while also being somewhat dense and fairly chewy in a good way, which is how I prefer my pizza crust. The Brewmaster was a little too meaty and busy for my personal taste, however I thought the red tomato sauce had good “punch”. I really enjoyed the combination of “Small Kine Mushrooms” (baby Bellas) with the white sauce on the Forager. I’d order that one myself next time I’m in the mood for pizza there.

      At just $10 each during Happy Hour (3:30 to 5:30pm daily) for a pizza about medium size (easily enough for 2 or 3 people for snackin’) is a great deal. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with their pizza at all, especially when combined with their EXCELLENT craft beers! Coconut Hiwa and Big Swell IPA are my two picks!

      Oh, if your wife or you feel like trying something on the healthier side (as if that matter with beer, right? lol), you gotta’ try the Edamame-Pea Pot Stickers and Avocado Toast. Bomb dot com!

      Reply
      • April 23, 2017 at 4:07 pm
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        Thanks so much for the detailed reply, sounds like it will be a great stop for us. Pizza is the last thing I’m thinking about when I’m in Hawaii, for obvious reasons, but compromise must be made in marriage. If I had my choice it’d be all Saimin, Ramen, Udon, Lau Lau, Beef Stew, Manapua, pork hash, masubi…you see the pattern, haha. Also, thanks for the excellent site bro, it’s been an incredible resource for me throughout the years. Keep it going.

        Reply
        • April 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm
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          Kenny,

          Ha ha! I like your style. I could tell you where to go for the “hardcore” places for Saimin and Manapua. However if you want to get that, with the convenience of being near Waikiki, I would get the “Zip Min”  (my pick for one of the best Saimin on Oahu) at Zippy’s (Kapahulu Ave. or restaurant on S. King Street) and the Manapua and Pork Hash at Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory, who has location near Ala Moana Center. I know locals here will scoff at those choices, being they’re “commercial”, yet for you and your wife as visitors, it’s still respectably local style, while having the parking and location convenience near Waikiki, with good prices on them.

          Oh, you also MUST stop by Alicia’s Market on your way into Waikiki from the Airport. Their Pasteles, Hawaiian food, local chinese style roast meats and poke are all bomb dot com as well! Seriously, once you get off the plane, drive there and enter Alicia’s Market (about 5-10 minutes drive from the airport, depending on traffic), you’ll be instantly transported into the “Center of Hawaii’s Food Universe”. Guaranteed!

          While you can find decent SPAM Musubi at any convenience store here, for REAL Musubi, you gotta’ check out Iyasume Cafe in Waikiki, where they make them to order, using top-shelf rice. Now THAT is what you call Musubi how it SHOULD be done! Good prices too!

          Speaking of SPAM Musubi, you might be here during the Waikiki SPAM JAM block party! That is an EPIC event!

          Mahalos for the comps. Glad you enjoy the site. ;-)

          Reply
          • April 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm
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            Thanks for the advice. I’ve learned my lessons over the years, the days of tourist traps are over. My favorite lunch combo is stopping at Libby for a heavy pink box, the n Palace for Saimin. I may not be local but I sure as hell wish I was and when I’m in town I try to make the locals proud, haha. I’m all for authenticity over convenience. Our first trip was our biggest mistake, we stayed in Waikiki for far too long. Over the years we learned to explore the island and now we merely just stay in Waikiki, while 10% or less of our time is actually spent there. Iyasume is the place that actually changed my mind about Masubi, now I crave it. Looking forward to visiting the new location at Shirokiya. I’ll have to look into Alicia’s, somehow I’ve never heard of it after all these years of research. Your advice hasn’t steered me wrong so far, so we’ll definitely be checking them out. Thanks again.

          • April 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm
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            Kenny, Try the Beef Stew at the Poi Bowl at Ala moana. Or if you want something lighter, the Surfer Boy Special, a small Beef Stew and three slices shoyu Spam over rice. Cheap.

            You can kaukau and read the paper while your wife shops.

  • April 24, 2017 at 12:24 pm
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    Won’t be back in town till this coming March – sure hope that 50% off pupu plates is still going (doubt it though … DARN!) looks GREAT though! It’s about a 5 minute walk from where we’re staying too,

    Regards!

    Haru

    Reply

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