Beer Review: Caldera-Big Island Red Sea

by Brian Yaeger on Sep 12, 2013 in Beer
Beer Review: Caldera-Big Island Red Sea

Last year, I found myself on vacation in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii. It isn’t exactly a beercation destination and pretty much has only one well-known brewery, the eponymous Kona Brewing.

However, to my delight, I discovered the Big Island Brewhaus, tucked into previously-existing Tako Taco Taqueria. The lineup of beers there was amazing, and I was surprised to discover a beer called Red Sea — brewed in collaboration with none other than Caldera Brewing from Ashland in Southern Oregon.

On top of a delectable imperial red ale — think hoppy IPA but with red-hued caramel malts for added body — chocolate, molasses, pink peppercorns and Himalayan pink salt were added for richness and spice. The end flavor is not unlike a sweet-and-savory molé.

After that vacation, I never thought I’d get to try the interesting beer again. I was wrong. Lo and behold, I found it recently on tap at the partner brewery — albeit after a fortuitous “accident.” The beer was added to a fermentation tank that previously held Caldera’s divine Mogli, a chocolate imperial stout aged on bourbon-soaked oak staves and — whoops — the staves were still inside.

The beer picked up warming vanilla notes (or maybe it was the the near 9% ABV that made me glow) that really round out the beer. Right now, it’s only available in Ashland, but still, that’s a heck of a lot easier to drive to than Kona.

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