The Brew Site

Kona Big Wave/Elderfire Golden Ale (beer cocktail)

It seems befitting of a New Year’s day post to review a beer cocktail: in this case, the Elderfire Golden Ale mixed up from the package Kona Brewing sent me a few weeks ago, containing Kona’s Big Wave Golden Ale, Bombay Sapphire Gin, and St. Germain liqueur. I thought this was a very clever idea, sending not just a beer but the makings of a beer cocktail, and they helpfully included the recipe and backtstory:

It’s been a great year for Kona Brewing and we wanted to send a big mahalo your way for all of your support. Inside this Hawaiian luahala basket, you’ll find the makings of the winning recipe from this year’s Battle of the Beer-tenders contest held at our Koko Marina Pub on Oahu in October. This annual event attracts professional bartenders from across the island who are tasked with creating custom-made cocktails featuring Kona brews, spirits, juices and other specialty ingredients.

Judges named The Republik Bartender Hoyt Uyehara as the grand prizewinner for his flight of Kona Brew cocktails. Here are the ingredients for Elderfire featuring one of our original brews Big Wave Golden Ale.

Elderfire Golden Ale:

Mix together everything below and share some Aloha this holiday season. Cheers!

  • 1/3 chilled bottle Big Wave Golden Ale
  • One chilled shot of Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • One shot of St-Germain liqueur

Since the recipe only calls for one third of the beer, I figured it would make sense to mix up the cocktail and finish the beer concurrently, and record my impressions. (So in other words, the equivalent of two drinks side by side!) It makes for a fun tasting.

Just the gin and St. Germain are being poured above (St. Germain is a French sweet elderflower liqueur, and quite good—I do believe I will need to pick up a bottle), and after adding the beer, the end result is about what you’d expect:

It’s actually rather attractive, I think. And for the taste—I enjoyed it; here are my notes:

The gin gives a big resin/herbal pungency, with a really nice sweet/fruity contribution from the St. Germain (which I’ve never had before). The beer itself is mellow and a nice buffer to the drink, adding nice sparkly mouthfeel and depth to it. It’s tasty. The beer itself has a really nice grainy/corny character (though I suppose this could be the impression as it plays off the cocktail), and it toasty and appetizing. This is a very easy drinking cocktail and would be great for hot weather.

By itself, Big Wave is also pretty easy drinking, at 4.4% abv, and is very well brewed for the Golden/Blonde Ale category it finds itself in. It would certainly be a great lawnmower beer, and an appropriate tipple if you’re looking for something light and flavorful. All in all, I have to say a nice beer to use in a cocktail such as this.

(Caveat, of course, being that I have very little experience thus far in the “beer cocktail” realm—but I’m enjoying what I’m (slowly) exploring!)