Kona Brewers Festival 2014

View of the festival from the Kona Beach Hotel roof

I just got back from my shortest trip to Hawaii ever…just four days. My pal, Marc Smith, invited me to tag along while he was on the last island (the big island of Hawaii) of his 30 Day Adventures in Hawaii. I’ve been to Hawaii many times but this was the first time back to Kona since I first visited 20 years ago.

Fortunately for me, one of the events on his agenda was the 2014 Kona Brewers Festival. Because beer…in Hawaii.

Kona 2014

Things got started the night before the festival with a tour and a few pints with the brewmaster at the Kona Brewing Company which is located just behind the festival’s host hotel, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Kona 2014

The next day, the festival started with a hula and oli (chant) on the luau grounds:

Kona Brewers Festival

Then the gates were open and over 3000 beer fans entered. Everyone got a beer mug and a spork for use to sample from one of the forty local restaurants that had prepared food for the event.

Kona Brewers Festival

A number of years ago, an effort was made to reduce the amount of waste created by the festival and in 2013 two truckloads of food waste was composted into pig slop and five truckloads of recycling was diverted from the Hawaiian landfill. Using the wooden sporks means they don’t need to provide eating utensils as well as giving attendees a keepsake.

Kona Brewers Festival

We had lunch by the pool before the gates opened (again, because beer) but we really didn’t need to as there was so much amazing food to sample.

Kona Brewers Festival

Kona Brewers Festival

Kona Brewers Festival

I tried to keep up on Untappd while at the festival but it was hard with 40 local and mainland beers to choose from. But I managed to unlock a few new badges and level up quite a bit. Here’s the beers I logged:
The beers I tried at the Kona Brewfest

There was no shortage of costumed attendees:
Kona Brewers Festival

Kona Brewers Festival

Kona Brewers Festival

An unexpected surprise was the ‘trashy’ fashion show at the midway point of the festival. All the models were wearing themed outfits made from garbage. Yup, garbage and it was amazing. It was like something out of Mad Max or Waterworld (which had scenes that were filmed on the big island). I don’t know if it’s been done before, but I’d never seen anything like it and it was a ton of fun, had great music and full of energy.

It fit perfectly with the festival’s goal of zero waste. Even the show’s host, Becca, had her dress made from leftover wristbands from last year’s festival:
Kona 2014

I had opted to go to Hawaii instead of my annual geek summer camp trip to Texas for SXSW (I even used the #notsxsw hashtag). But as many friends commented while I was there, I had sun, great people, beer and an awesome party.

This was the 19th year for the festival…all I can say is that I hope to be back for the 20th!

2 Comments

  1. So fun to have you join me on the adventure John! Love the pics and I totally agree about the fashion show.

  2. Fantastic story! I’m so glad you were there. Mahalo, Sally

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