Herewith some words on real ale, fake wine, and Fran’s Island Grill, with pictures for atmosphere and a recipe even.

Maui sunset with palm

Establishing shot.

This trip is our first attempt at a vacation with the daughter in the traveling circus, and the addition of a strong-willed 20-month-old in tow has made it a little tough for me. The grown-up activities that I’ve tended to enjoy, things like snorkeling, swimming, hiking, and extended periods of sloth, are largely replaced by child-care. Supervising a toddler and an eight-year-old at the beach or pool has its charms, but I’ve once or twice caught myself feeling sorry for myself because I’d rather be doing something grown-up. Whatever; time is on our side.

I’m happy to report, though, that we’ve still been able to eat well and enjoy some grown-up drinks. First, the beer because, well, beer comes first.

Ales · The first trip to the grocery yielded two local products: First, the “Volcano Red Ale” from Mehana; the site is a wiggly Flash-pit, probably don’t go there. Maybe bad Web design goes with bad products? Anyhow, maybe their other beers are good, but the Red Ale is average at best, you can find something better.

The other was the “Big Swell IPA” from the Maui Brewing Company, and I liked it so much that I’m going to run this picture I stole from their website.

Maui Brewing Company Big Swell IPA

It’s light-coloured and with a light malt background and is absolutely loaded with hops, the aroma fills up your whole head. I just can’t think of anything better to counter the after-effects of a few hours on a beach or walking up a mountain trail in the tropical heat.

Mountains on Maui

From a mountain trail.

It’s interesting that this microbrew comes in cans. The website doesn’t say why, so I guess I’ll have to open another can to read the explanation... hmmmm. I’d reproduce it but it contains some fairly fanciful claims about the environmental virtues of aluminum. I can testify, though, that it doesn’t seem to interfere with this beer’s flavor.

MBC has a brewpub, we’ll try to drop by before we leave.

Wine, Sort Of · And now for something completely different... that first shopping expedition also brought back something they described as “Pineapple Champagne”. In fact that would be “Hula O Maui Sparkling Wine” from Tedeschi Vineyards at Ulupalakua Ranch.

The question has to be asked: Can this be as bad as it sounds? Well, no, it’s not that bad. But it’s not great either. We opened it to go with something light, but then we closed it again and had a nice bottle of Okanagan white. I was going to let it go, but Lauren stuffed a cork in it for some reason, and that was good, because the next day I was going to barbecue some chicken kabobs and she assembled the following marinade from what was on hand:

  • Hula O Maui Sparkling Wine

  • Some vegetable oil

  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice (quite a lot)

  • Sam Choy’s Chef’s Recipe Pineapple Teriyaki sauce

  • Love

The kabobs came out really excellent.

Lunch · We were going through Wailuku and Lauren noted there was a craft-supplies store she wouldn’t mind visiting. This was on Lower Main Street, a cheerfully grubby and industrious kind of place, just thick with eateries that are not particularly aiming at tourists. We had lunch at one.

Fran’s Island Grill

Fran’s Island Grill, Lower Main Street, Wailuku, Maui.

They gave us a quick, hearty, tasty, inexpensive lunch in a friendly atmosphere. I suspect that not that many tourists will end up on Lower Main Street, but if you do, drop on by; tell ’em the haoles with the Really Loud Toddler sent you.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Tkil (Mar 21 2008, at 09:01)

I don't know about the environmental aspect of aluminum vs. glass, but one big advantage of cans is that you can take them on the beach.

(Living in San Diego taught me that, along with things like nice plastic pint glasses for similar reasons.)

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From: Lennon (Mar 21 2008, at 14:19)

Caldera Brewing (http://www.calderabrewing.com/) distributes their pale ale and IPA in cans. The have a number of arguments for the use of cans instead of bottles, but the one that I put the most stock in is that light can degrade beer in bottles over time, which makes cans better for long-term storage.

Personally, I think that bottles are better to drink out of, but it's nice having cans of decent beer available for activities involving bodies of water. Rafting trips, in particular, are not a good context for glass bottles.

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From: SusanJ (Mar 22 2008, at 10:20)

Roselani ice cream is really good with the mint chocolate chip probably being the best although the coconut is also outstanding.

Rego's Purity Mild is the best linguica. Good sliced and fried for almost any purpose. We even mixed it with our favorite jarred marinara sauce.

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From: Lars Marius Garshol (Mar 24 2008, at 04:40)

Cans really are the best way to distribute beer. The polymer lining prevents the beer from touching the aluminium, and so it doesn't affect the taste. They also weigh less, don't turn into glass splinters, and as others have pointed out they protect the beer against sunlight. There also tends to be less oxygen in cans, which is another benefit. And while cans are harder to drink from than bottles, you should never drink from either if you care about the taste, so that doesn't really matter.

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From: Geir Aalberg (Mar 24 2008, at 09:52)

Aluminium cans are without doubt the most practical solution regarding weight (glass is heavy) and store (plastic leaks gas). However the factory equipment needed to produce canned beer is vastly more expensive than recycling bottles, which means only the large breweries can afford it. Smaller breweries may have better beer, but not many want it when it only comes in bottles.

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From: Justin Sheehy (Mar 25 2008, at 07:50)

Tkil and Lennon have mentioned a couple of the good reasons for cans. Used properly, modern cans don't mess with the flavor of the beer, and there are a couple of upsides.

For an example of an excellent craft brewery that uses cans for their beer, check out Oskar Blues. I'm a fan of their Gordon Strong IPA and the Ten Fidy Imperial Stout.

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