Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aloha Series Koko Brown

I've said it before, but I suppose it bears repeating: beer changes with the seasons. Just like those silly feel-good propaganda Sam Adams commercials, different weather dictates different ingredients and beer styles. And now that the weather is warming, and those beautiful days are returning...

Yeah, only not. The weather here has sucked, which more or less defies every stereotype you've heard about SoCal's beautiful Eden-like reputation. But that doesn't mean I can't live vicariously through my beer choices, sipping flavors that beckon sunnier skies, including such entries as:

Aloha Series Koko Brown
Brown Ale
Kona Brewing Co. 
Kona, Hawaii 
ABV: Inexplicably unlisted, so unknown, but it's got to be low. 

Hawaiian imagery! SUNSHINE AND BEACHES! 

So, setting aside that "Koko Brown" sounds like the name of some porn actress on her way to a prolific career (and, actually the first Google search points you to, where you can find "interracial...erotic romance with a plot!"), the brown ale is actually one of the seasonal offerings from Kona Brewing company, a decent enough brewery that embraces its "Hawaii-ness" with labels featuring palm trees, and beer names like Longboard Lager and, well, Koko Brown.

I don't really hold it against the brewery. In fact, I have a sort of sympathy for any company from Hawaii that feels the need to embrace the stereotypical iconography of a lei to ensure the livelihood of their brand, but Kona was never one of my favorite breweries. None of their previous beers that I've had has really stood out. But hey, this was on sale. You can't argue with the chance of economics. 

Koko is a Brown Ale, which means it has a medium body, a slightly nutty flavor, and a sweet finish; the typical host of attributes is here and accounted for. What's different, though, is the fact that it's "brewed with toasted coconut and natural flavor added." And though they don't elaborate on what the "natural flavor" in particular is (it could be anything but since they're going with the Hawaii theme I'm going to guess lava rock and sea turtle), the coconut flavor is here. In spades. This is no "hint" or "whisper" of coconut - this has all the coconut subtly of an Almond Joy. And it's really tasty! 

Coconut, much like cilantro, seems to be one of those things that divide the culinary masses, forcing you to stand firm in the For or Against Coconut initiative. Personally, I wave the Coconut Flag like a champ - macaroons are one of the most surefire ways to win me over. Unlike cilantro, though, the coconut detractors seem to lament, as Dallas says in Zombie Land, "not the taste, [but] the consistency." So by that logic there might be some haters out there that might actually like this one because, gratefully, the beer lacks any rubbery rubber shavings associated with coconut. But if you're one of those true haters that hates every aspect of the noble coconut, taste and consistency, you're obviously not going to be a fan. 


So this isn't the sort of beer that you're going to turn to on a regular basis - it is after all, one of those "gimmicky" beers, that hits one note. But it hits that one note incredibly well and I liked it a lot.