Name: Kona Brewing Co Fire Rock Pale Ale

Style: American Pale Ale

Country: U.S.A.

ABV: 6%

Beer description: Kona Brewing Company from Hawaii’s Big Island is one of the larger producers in the state. They have a good variety of beers and the Fire Rock Pale Ale is an American style pale ale: a beer every brewery needs to have in its arsenal.

The colour is close to amber but with a light vibe that keeps it at a pale ale. It’s nearly see through in that you can almost see your fingers while holding the glass. There’s a tint of red in there (let’s call it Hawaiian lava) that gives the beer an overall copper colour.

The label said “pale ale” but we’re putting this one as an American pale ale due to the overall taste and vibe of the beer. It’s very much made to the American style. There are some subtle differences between a standard pale and an American pale, but the beer feels like an American so that’s what we’ll go with!

The aroma of this beer is pretty mild. There’s some grassiness and a vague sense of malt, but it all feels pretty trapped. There was a lot to be expected and the aroma simply wasn’t there! The main thing that comes through is just a little bit of sweetness. More aroma was needed.

Going through to the taste of the beer, it’s great, but very straight and standard. There’s a bit of a citrus playfulness at the beginning of the beer, followed by a bit of a spritz feeling, all ending in a bit of bitterness that is bang on the bitterness of an American pale ale. The hint of sweetness (from the aroma) continues but there is nothing to really “wow” the drinker.

Amongst the flavours are some stone fruit and passion fruit which gives the beer an overall tropical feeling; it is a Hawaiian beer after all. This is combined with some general berry flavours and some gooseberry as well. The citrus comes back to play at the very end which is quite nice. It’s welcome and refreshing and it’s nice that it comes back to say “aloha”. Well, mahalo to you citrus!

This is a great beer, but comparatively it feels lazy. It feels like a beer that has been had before and there’s nothing to set it apart from the myriad of other APA’s that are just so much better.

That being said, the Fire Rock is brainless and easy. It’s a great beer for the beach and sunshine, very much like the the Pintail Pale Ale from Karl Strauss. Try these two beers side by side, as they’re both surfer pale ales designed for the beach.

Check out general summary of Hawaiian beers.

See other pale ale reviews.

Check out our Kona Brewing Co section.