Waikiki, home of sun, surf, dream vacations and soon Oahu’s next brewery. Connected to a popular restaurant, Waikiki Brewing Company plans to brew classic American pub beers for both tourists and locals. The brewpub will feature a long bar that will allow visitors to view directly into the brewery and watch head brewer Joe Lorenzen. Along with a sizable outdoor patio that faces Ala Moana Boulevard, Lorenzen hopes to create an intimate space that allows customers to see the brewing process and interact with the brewers.
I recently caught up with Lorenzen at the brewery which is still under construction. Once the floors are leveled, the brewery will be install, walls painted and bar constructed. Lorenzen hopes to brew test batches on the new system by November and open to the public by early 2015.
Where will Waikiki Brewing Company be located?
Waikiki Brewing Company will be situated at the corner of Ala Moana and Kalakaua, right at the gateway to Waikiki. Our address is 1945 Kalakaua Ave.
What is the story behind Waikiki Brewing Company?
The brewery project got started in 2012 when the owners Laren Gartner and Edna Bayliff were visiting the store. I had seen some untapped potential in the unused banquet room at the store and suggested to them that I thought it would be great to brew beer in the space. They loved the idea and started working on securing permits and licenses for the project right away while I started looking for a brewing school to register myself in.
What is the vision for Waikiki Brewing Company?
We will provide premium quality, fresh, handmade craft beer to vacationers and residents of Oahu at our brewpub. All of the brewing equipment will be directly behind the bar so that patrons can see the entire process from start to finish and interact with our brewers.
Will the beers be exclusively for the restaurant or are there plans to distribute kegs to other local restaurants?
We expect to sell most of our beer at the brewery, but with any additional capacity, we will supply our partner restaurants and outside accounts.
How big of a brewery are you installing?
We have a direct fired, 7 barrel brewhouse that we brought in from a fabricator in Canby, Oregon. We will have a total of 11 tanks in 7 barrel and 15 barrel sizes for fermentation and conditioning.
Do you plan on being the head brewer?
Yes, I will be brewmaster and my cousin and brother will be my assistant brewers.
How did you get started brewing?
I have always been a huge fan of craft beer and in 2012 I decided to take my appreciation to a new level by becoming a home brewer. I was immediately taken in by the magic of the brewing process and so when I had an opportunity to start the brewery project at work, I jumped on it.
What professional brewing training have you had or do you plan to do?
I spent most of 2013 enrolled in coursework at the American Brewers Guild in their Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering program. My studies culminated with a trip to Middlebury, Vermont last December to get some hands on experience on a 15 barrel brewhouse, in the QC lab, and to celebrate graduation.
What type of beers do you want to make for Waikiki Brewing Company?
Our core line will consist of classic American styles: Blonde, Amber, Pale Ale, IPA, American Wheat, and Porter. We will also always have a few fun seasonal, experimental, and/or rare styles available for those with curious palates.
Are you currently brewing test batches and perfecting your recipes?
In a way, we’ve been working on test batches since we started home brewing. After I finished brewing school last December, we really kicked it into high gear and started keeping meticulous fermentation and recipe logs to get things dialed in.
When do you ideally see Waikiki Brewing Company opening?
We expect to be done with the floor and plumbing by the end of September and have our equipment installed during October. If all goes according to schedule, we could be brewing all through November and be ready for a December or January opening.