Good beer, Great dinner with good friends

Trip Start Jul 02, 2013
Trip End Jul 09, 2013

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Where I stayed
What I did
Hamakua Mac Nuts
Big Island Abalone Farm
Don's Beachcomber
Kona Chips by Manago Hotel

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Get our day started by heading to Kona Brewery 1st thing in the morning, even skipping breakfast (not because we were that desperate for beer, but we were still trying to digest the late porkchop dinner at Manago.  Two BIG pieces, super-size, knew we should have been content with only regular order.  My, feel like talking about McDonald, "Super-size", so silly!

Arrived at Brewery, with no patrons in sight.  It's early enough that even the restaurant operation manager went for Chinese breakfast after taking down our names for afternoon tour.  Something about Hawaii breakfast, only those Chinese places (all of them BBQ, Cantonese style) open for breakfast at 6am, like in Taiwan/China.

Then headed N. to NELHA (Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority) for the presentation, then abalone farm.  Drove right by the visitor center with large solar roof, without realizing that's the place.  Ended up at dead end where administrative office was.  The receptionist thought we were a bit odd that stumbling into the office.  The positive sides are now we know where the seahorse farm and kampachi farm are.

Very good presentation at NELHA, highly recommended for anyone with interests in energy & biology.  There're quite a few companies near the NELHA complex.  Most of them do not open to public for tours, with exceptions of seahorse farm, kampachi farm, and abalone farm. 
  • Nigari Water Co: one of the world's most expensive water.  It's desalinated water high in minerals found 2,000 feet down off the coast of Hawaii.  Produced 1 millions bottles per day, with 95% shipped to Japan daily.  Price tag? $16.75 per ounce, which translates to approx $2,144 per gallon! 
  • Big Island Abalone Farm: didn't know abalone are nocturnal.  Our guide pulled up the slate abalone juniors cling on, the juniors started to slide down as fast as they could to avoid the light.  Most of the abalone here shipped to Japan & other Asian countries.
Stopped by Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historical Site on the way down to Kona Brewery to buy the plants/animals ID chart.  It's one of my favorite visitor centers on the island.  Well-staffed, friendly staff, and with very good exhibit/specimen.  Great place to learn about Hawaiian history and plants.  The same lady taught our boys how to make lei from ti leaves was there, this time with flowers lei.  She was kind enough to hand me the Pau Kenikeni (used to be plentiful, 10 cent each for a long time - I tried to memorize the flower name by "poor man's candy-candy") and pink plumeria hair pin (which I tried to hang on for the next few hours by re-positioning by my ear, back of my hair bun, etc, as it kept falling down and showing up in strange places).  The pink plumeria definitely isn't as intoxicatingly fragrant as the white variety.  

Kona Brewer, here we come.  The luckily 9 beer-thirsty tourists (yes, that included Curtis & I) went with our guide into the cold storage room, where all happy beer sitting in the stainless tanks.  Just like the ones in Napa/Sonoma wineries, or Budweiser Brewery, but a lot smaller scale, # of tanks-wise (especially compared to the mega mighty Bud).  Honestly, probably less than 5% of the stuff our guide said while standing in the cold room was processed in my brain.  If it's about ecology, animals & plants, the info was processed and stored in a special cube in my brain.  But anything else tends not make it.....sigh....BTW, our guide was very good, enthusiastic, born & raised in SF Bay Area, couldn't keep entry level banking job, but found his passion in beer....Erh?  And here he is, giving tour in Hawaii and immersed in beer!

We had enough beer to go around 2nd-3rd round during sampling, which was in a separate well-shaded outdoor area.  Usually a group consists of 15 people, ours only 9.  The less (drinkers) the merrier! 

A list of beer we had,
Big Wave, Lemongrass luau, Castaway IPA, Pipeline Porter. 

Not an IPA fan, but loved everything else!

Dinner at Laura & Don's place, Hawaiian style.  With great food & great amount.  Love Hawaiian style meal, there's always plenty to go around :-)  Grateful for our wonderful friends/hosts that makes every day in Big Island a super fun/super full (tummy full) day!  We also met Laura's neighbor & his sister visiting from Midwest.  Love Laura's huli huli chicken (think Teriyaki), and tara bread rolls.  Laura even bought the $9 white pineapples for us as dessert.  It's not quite ripe yet!

Back to hotel.  Trying to figure out what kayak/snorkeling company we'll go with when we leave for Maui tomorrow.  Curtis was long in la-la land.......

I think we'll pass the Manago breakfast tomorrow, even though it's only $6 with papaya, lots of food....don't think our stomach could handle more food after tonight's dinner!

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