Second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is traditionally said to be named after the son of the Polynesian navigator Hawai'iloa credited with the discovery of the Islands.
The first European explorer to see Maui was Captain James Cook in 1778. Captain Cook (tenuous link time) was married in the very church - St Margarets, Barking, Essex that I was baptised in, sang in the choir, and rang the church bells for weddings and services - although I didn't do all of those at the same time! In fact, I have seen the very marriage certificate 'in the flesh' so to speak.
Captain Cook wasn't the first to land there though, as he could not find anywhere suitable. That honour went to the French Admiral, Jean-Francois de La Perouse in 1786, on the shores of what is now known as La Perouse Bay, and ties nicely in with my first beer:
La Perouse White 5.2%
It pours a cloudy yellow with a high bright white head, but this quickly fades. The aroma has a big hit of orange and lemon squash, but orange and lemon squash made with a week solution of cream soda instead of water. There's also a hint of dry coriander and some more juicy fruity citrus notes. Over the tongue it is smooth, sweet cleansing and refreshing, making it tingle ever-so slightly. Coriander and more juicy lemony-orange flavour hit you first, but this is followed up with a sweet powdery texture fading to fresh coconut milk. The finish of soft coconut cream and orange is beautifully sweet and simply delicious.
I gave the little beer I had left at the bottom of a can a swirl around, and this brought forth a lovely yeasty sediment that I really wasn't expecting in a canned beer, and this added a more lemon-melon punch to the finish.
This is a wonderful witbier, which the brewery describes as 'Limited Release' so I assume that this isn't going to be accessible for everyone, but if you see it, buy it.
Maui Brewing Company was founded in 2005 in Lahaina, Maui, and is the islands only micro-brewery. The beer was first made available in cans in 2007, which were chosen for sustainability - key to the brewerys philosophy, lightness, durability and to preserve freshness.
Their beers have won many awards, but undoubtedly the one that has won the most, and for which they are most famous is my next beer.
CoCoNut PorTeR 6.0%
It pours a glossy dark brown, almost black, with a tawny-port-coloured edge and a sustained foamy beige head. Desiccated coconut and dark chocolate, a little like a Bounty bar is the first aroma to hit you, but it's much drier and has a hint of wood varnish, coffee and cola nut in there too. It dances over the tongue initially, before leaving a massive footprint of tastiness in the middle whilst slipping shyly down the throat. Masses of dry coconut all wrapped up in dark chocolate fill the mouth followed by a gentle creaminess and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. It manages to be tangy, sharp and bitter all at the same time. The finish has more dry chocolate and coconut but fades a little too quickly for my liking.
This may not be the most multi-dimensional beer, but it doesn't have to be. It is what it is, and it is simply gorgeous.
If you would like to you can find out more about Maui Brewing Company and their beers here.
I picked these two cans up from Utobeer in Borough Market a few weeks ago and they have been settling and chilling nicely in my fridge ever since. They are the third and fourth of the beers that I bought to try and get over my prejudice against canned beer, and I have come to the conclusion that this method, when applied to 'craft' beers is a fantastic way of preserving subtle nuances of flavour that can be lost more easily from bottled beer.
Am I converted?