At the beginning of February, Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei location opened the doors at its newest restaurant. The popular tasting room and brewery have been there for several years, and regulars and the pau hana crowd will be happy to hear that the tasting room remains the same. Behind the long bar hangs whimsical signs for 32 colorfully-named beers. Tourists and locals scour the selections, ordering samplers and draughts. There are still board games and a giant Connect Four set, and a covered outdoor lanai to hang out on. In the evenings, beer drinkers listen to live music from local bands and singers like Rowdy Love.
But MBC no longer has visiting food trucks parked outside, and instead now offers its own fare–just like its brewpub in Kahana. Through a short hallway from the front room, the new restaurant looms large.
The restaurant offers an extensive menu, which was designed by Angela Terry, the company’s Menu Director. It’s similar to other brewpubs in Hawaii, with snacks like House Cut Fries, Pork Belly Bao, Ahi Poke Tacos and MBC Nachos. Then there are salads, sandwiches, yummy pizza options, burgers, Bikini Blonde Fish & Chips and fish tacos. Making all this food is the responsibility of Chef Terry Lynch, who has worked all over the world. His most recent job was executive chef and partner in the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group.
The craft beer options remain the same in terms of creativity and palatability. Old favorites like Big Swell IPA and Coconut Porter are available alongside tasty beers named after Hawaii’s beloved places–Black Rock, Lahaina Town Brown and La Perouse White–as well as POG, coconut and Father Damien.
“It’s been a part of the vision for our brewing headquarters for a long time,” said founder and CEO Garrett Marrero. The cavernous 8,500 square-foot addition is a tasteful open-format warehouse-style dining room and bar. Maui Brewing Company worked with Oahu’s WCIT Architecture, who also designed Nobu Honolulu and Andaz Maui, to create the space. They also designed MBC’s Waikiki location.
The same creative spirit that goes into brewing and designing their craft beers went into their restaurant design. In the dining room, huge garage-door style doors open onto the lanai, creating an outdoor feel to the whole area. “The restaurant opens up to a very large garden of succulent plants and boulders,” says Melanie M. Oxley, Maui Brewing Company’s COO.
“We took an artful industrial look to our design scheme,” says Oxley. “There are large wooden motifs in a shape to represent beer barley that separate the bar area from the dining room tables. This helps create a bit of privacy between the two areas as well as break up the large open floor plan. They are set at different elevations to add an additional design element.”
The large dining room is separated from the bar area by a raised barrier with steel and wood angular wooden motifs. The barrier, and the cascade of hanging lights over the bar, follow the profile of Haleakala and Mauna Kahalawai. The bar and highboy bar tables are a smooth and pleasing poured concrete.
“The brewery space in and of itself is like a work of art, so we’re really excited to build upon that through the new restaurant space,” Chris Thibaut, CEO of restaurants at Maui Brewing Company. Though the space is modern and industrial, the splashes of island themes soften the edges.
Behind the bar, large glass windows gives bar patrons a glimpse at the brewery’s huge steel vats and Willy Wonka-mysterious machinery. “With a direct view of the brewhouse and distillery, guests feel immersed in the craft brewing culture,” says Marrero. In addition to being a solid spot for a pau hana, dinner or gathering, “This is a special space for events considering the location with views of the both mountain peaks and ocean,” says Oxley.
Maui Brewing Company
605 Lipoa Pkwy, Kihei
First and third photos: Sean M. Hower
Nachos photo: MauiTime