Beer of the Month: Kona Big Wave Golden Ale

beerBeer: Its April. It is starting to get warmer. It is officially spring. Beer drinkers want something significantly lighter. A typical blonde ale is probably overdoing it, but this brew from Hawaii’s Kona Brewing isn’t your average blonde ale

History: Blonde Ales have their roots in the Kolschs from Germany and the Summer/Golden Ales in the UK. They are usually considered to be a product of the American craft beer movement. It goes against the usual American trends of stuffing so many complex, over-the-top flavors into beer. Some critics still don’t consider it a proper style.

Appearance: Sitting in the glass, it is a deep golden color as the name would suggest. It also has really good head retention (I’ll let you finish laughing before I continue). I’m halfway done the beer, and there is still a level of foam on the top.

Aroma: It has a very light sweet malt scent. It’s so light that it makes way for some surprisingly prominent hops. The more citrus/tropical elements of the hops really stand out in this one for a really inviting aroma.

Flavor: Just like the aroma. Just like the appearance. It is a light malty sweetness with none of the usual dark/caramel flavors. The hops push aside the light malt to become more present. The bitterness is on the low end with the flowery/fruity flavor more prominent.

Mouthfeel: It is a very light and fluffy beer. The fluffiness is mostly due to the head retention, and the lightness makes it really smooth and approachable. Being an approachable beer is kind of underrated in the American markets since so many of the beers are always trying to be bigger, better, and more extreme.

Drinkability: Blonde ales have a tendency to be kind of bland, even though most of them are great for a warm, crisp day. This one gives some extra oomph with the hops. Hops tend to be much more subdued in this style of beer.

Food pairing: It is mostly crisp so it works as a great pallet cleanser/thirst quencher. It will contrast nicely against spicier foods like Mexican or Indian dishes. Or have it with a Monterey/Pepper Jack cheese plate. It is also sweet and a little fruity so it will complement a garden/fruit salad.

Proper glassware: A pint glass works well enough, or even a big mug or stein. The alcohol is usually really low (this particular one is only 4.4%), so feel free to fill a big glass.