If there’s one thing I love more than our trips to Hawaii, it’s beer. So it was only fitting that during our last month-long stay we would finally embark on a quest to find the best breweries on Oahu.
My husband and I have been bitten by the Hawaii bug (surprise, surprise) and prioritize visiting the islands as much as possible. Oahu is our favorite spot to return to (the north shore, people!!) so we decided to bunker down for a month while teleworking in the sunshine.
Before heading out, we made a goal to visit every local brewery to find the best beer on Oahu. Some spots impressed us while others left us wanting more (hell, some left us wanting less). Below we’ll highlight every spot and tell you what you need to know before your visit.
Who am I and why can you trust me?
Well, for starters, this roundup was not a solo affair. I was joined by my hop-loving husband and if I were to tell you that we’re professional beer connoisseurs, I’d be lying.
We’re just two folks that hail from Portland, Oregon and can appreciate a good IPA.
Visiting local breweries is something we both love to do while traveling, and getting to experience the breweries on Oahu is no exception.
If I’m being honest though, most of the Oahu breweries we tried left much to be desired. I’d say the island is still getting its feet wet when it comes to beer making. Many beers were too light for our liking, and the IPAs needed more bite.
In general, we enjoyed the beer in Oahu, but you have to know where to look. Not all Oahu breweries are created equal, and a handful of them will leave you wanting more. Read on to learn about the best breweries on Oahu, based on our experience.
Best Breweries Oahu
#11. Aloha Beer Company
Aloha Beer was one of the first breweries on Oahu we tried. Eager to kick off our quest for the best beer in Honolulu, the lively location of Aloha Beer drew us in and we were happy to oblige.
We order a flight of beers to get a good sense of the variety this Oahu brewery offered, but overall found ourselves rather disappointed. Nothing really hit the spot and most of the beers fell flat.
The saving grace is the cool outdoor patio, making this a great spot to hang out for a while. But if I’m being honest, I don’t think the epic mural is enough to warrant a return from yours truly because the beers didn’t satisfy.
Listen, I’m all for supporting local businesses and I’m happy to give this Oahu brewery another try during our next trip to the island. But until then the verdict stands: this one didn’t hit the spot.
#10. Honolulu Beerworks
Much like Aloha Brewing, we were very excited to try out the brews at Honolulu Beerworks. We’ve heard great things and some of our friends consider this the best beer in Honolulu.
Maybe it was the high exceptions, maybe it was the light brews but we ultimately left wanting more.
We thought the location was awesome (very cozy and spacious) but the beers need more flavor to be memorable and we’d look forward to giving them a second shot during our next visit.
#9. Waikiki Brewing Company
Opened in 2015, Waikiki Brewing Company is arguably one of the most popular breweries on Oahu. There’s two locations on the island and both are found in Honolulu, making a quick stop here a no-brainer.
Waikiki Brewing Company is the third largest producer of craft beer in Hawaii, which tells you everything you need to know about the quality of the beer. It’s perfectly satisfying, with great hazy IPAs, creative sours and noteworthy stouts.
The food is also worth a shout-out, we opted for the brats and burgers and both were great.
Many of the brews are award-winners, getting recognition at the Great American Beer Festival, Denver International Beer Competition and US Open Beer Championship.
P.S. Waikiki Brewing Company recently opened two locations on Maui as well, so if you’re visiting Maui pop in for a great brews and food.
#8. Maui Brewing
There’s no question that Maui Brewing deserves praise and accolades, this is the largest craft brewery in Hawaii for a reason! After our first visit we can confirm this is one of the best breweries in Waikiki, if not for the epic rooftop alone.
The venue is spacious, open and industrial while still oozing plenty of charm. We ordered a flight of IPAs and found ourselves very impressed by the quality. This was one of the first Oahu breweries we came across that actually hit the spot (and lifted our spirits).
All told, Maui Brewing is a great choice for those in search of the best breweries in Honolulu. There’s a huge variety of beer to choose from and the menu is impressive as well. The vibe and atmosphere can’t be beat, this is a great spot to spend an hour or two with a group of friends (or your special someone).
So yeah, no list of the best beer in Honolulu would be complete without this gem (even though it hails from Maui). But you know the drill: life isn’t always fair, but it’s usually fun.
#7. Lokahi Brewing Company
If you’re searching for some of the best sour beers on Oahu, make a beeline for Lokahi Brewing Company. The Floor is Guava is one of the best Oahu beers we had the pleasure of trying and I would have easily ordered a growler but committing to such a large pour of sour would have been another story.
The vibe was industrial and casual, and the staff were very knowledgeable and helpful. This is clearly one of the newest breweries on Oahu and they’re doing great work. I thoroughly enjoyed the sours at this spot, but the IPAs weren’t memorable. I think it’s worth popping in if you’re in the area.
#6. Broken Boundary Brewing
Broken Boundary Brewing popped up on our radar while we were having brunch in the area. And sure, it can be argued that noon is too early to start drinking beer, but why would the brewery be open if that were the case?
We drove over and did a double-take, confident we missed a turn because we found ourselves in front of an industrial building. But the small open door served as a guarantee we were in the right spot, so we wandered in.
The first thing you notice is the brew kitchen to the left where locals make their own batches. We watched for a minute before seating ourselves near the large menu and decided on a flight of IPAs.
At this point on our journey to find the best beer on Oahu, we were somewhat disheartened because most of the brews have been too light for our liking — thankfully Broken Boundary Brewing shifted the tide.
We were impressed by the hazy IPAs and found they paralleled those we grew to love in Portland. The brewery had a very relaxed vibe, which only added to the charm and the staff were very friendly. We really enjoyed this Oahu brewery and think it’s worth a visit.
#5. Lanikai Brewing Company
Lanikai Brewing Company is located close to Lanikai Beach (one of the best beaches on Oahu). The brewery dates back to 2002, when a group of friends started brewing small batches of beer on Oahu. As the craft was perfected over the years, they began to grow and opened their first brick and mortar in 2017.
Today this beloved Oahu brewery draws a local crowd with tempting porters, IPAs and made-to-order wood fired pizzas.
Lanikai Brewing Company takes great pride in brewing authentic Hawaiian beer on Oahu using seasonal and local ingredients. The result is flavorful beers with floral and fruity aromas.
This was one of the most memorable breweries on Oahu thanks to the Cheehoo IPA. Hell, in my opinion this is the best IPA on Oahu. Admittidely, my husband believes that title belongs to another IPA (I’ll mention it further below).
For food, we split the Bee’s Knees (pesto, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, goat cheese, Hawaiian hot honey) and enjoyed it to the last bite.
My husband ordered a side of garlic bread (the man isn’t phased by carbs it seems) and raved about the marina sauce the dish came with.
Solid food options, great beer and a laid-back atmosphere, what’s not to like?
Heads up for porter fans: The Pillbox Porter is so good. I don’t like porters, but drank this to the last sip. It’s much lighter than a typical porter and I found the flavor to be pleasantly robust — such an easy drinker.
#4. Kona Brewing Co.
Did you know? Kona Brewing Co. is the oldest brewery in Hawaii.
Kona Brewing Co. is a staple in Oahu’s craft brewery scene. Founded in 1994, Kona Brewing has been perfecting the craft for almost 30 years and it shows. We were excited to try their brewery on Oahu and made it a priority to visit because we’ve been buying their beers for as long as I can remember.
Unlike the other breweries in Oahu, we had to wait a bit for a table because this spot is so popular. We visited around 3pm and the wait was 30-minutes, so come earlier if you don’t want to wait too long because this spot gets busy.
The Oahu brewery is very beautiful, one of the best on the island. The seating area is spacious and comfortable with massive floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to expose breathtaking views of the bay. The breeze is priceless.
We opted for a flight during our visit and were glad to try some new-to-us flavors. Most memorable were the Lemongrass Luau and Kua Bay.
We didn’t order food but the table next to us got an order of pizza bites that seems tasty (they devoured them in minutes). I might get those next time I visit this beloved Oahu brewery.
Worth mention: Kona Brewing Co. has some of the best merch on the island. Whoever is in charge of the designs is killing it! So if you’re hoping to pick up a shirt or hat while brewery hopping on Oahu, this might be the spot.
#3. Inu Brewery
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the Ube Bay Stout (Ube + Vanilla + White Chocolate), Coconut Island Milkshake IPA (Coconut + Lactose + Sabro + Citra) or the Lilikoi Blackberry Cheesecake from Inu Brewery.
I’ll be the first to admit that, apart from the Milkshake IPA, most of the IPA department was lacking, but the other beers more than made up for the slight.
We learned that offering IPAs on the menu was practically mandatory, but this place truly shines in two other departments: porters and sours. We were taken aback by the intensity of these creative pours and can’t get them out of our mind.
In terms of vibe, there’s much to be desired. This Oahu brewery is located in an industrial garage and feels quite small. But these are small details in the grand scheme of things because the beers are worthwhile.
I enjoyed supporting this small business because of the humble vibe, these folks are making an effort to create some of the best beers on Oahu and it shows. These were some of the most creative beers we’ve had to date.
#2. Beer Lab HI
No list of the best breweries in Honolulu would be complete without mentioning Beer Lab HI.
Beer Lab HI has 3 breweries on Oahu and all are great! We especially enjoyed the Honolulu location and visited twice during our stay on the island. My hats off to brewer for the hazy IPAs, they hit the spot and made up for some of the “juice” we had at other breweries.
Aside from the great beer (especially hazy IPAs and sours), we noticed that this place is mostly made up of locals, which is a great sign. Located just outside the heart of town, Beer Lab Hi is easily one of the best breweries in Honolulu and definitely worth the walk.
P.S. If you’re a fan of porters, don’t sleep on the options available at Beer Lab HI. As mentioned, I’m not a huge porter fan but found myself impressed nonetheless.
#1. Hana Koa (Best Brewery in Honolulu)
Of all the best breweries on Oahu, none impressed us more than Hana Koa. If we only had two days on the island, we’d prioritize popping over for an IPA or seasonal pint. The skill these brewmasters have is undeniable and guaranteed to impress even those that hail from the hoppy Pacific Northwest.
This Oahu brewery caught us by surprise because it’s un-assumming from the outside but very modern and spacious inside. It has a comfortable industrial feel to it, and the friendly staff add the warmth.
But let’s talk about the thirst quenchers, because this is the best beer in Honolulu — hell, the best beer in Oahu, in my book. Upon entering, we were promptly seated by a massive blackboard filled to the brim with various brews. We couldn’t resist some of the concoctions and chose to go for a flight.
We tried mostly IPAs (our favorite) but sprinkled in a handful of seasonals as well. Everything was top-notch, but if we had to choose a favorite, it’d be the Dream Machine Mango (a milkshake IPA). Mu husband claims this to be the best IPA on Oahu. Fighting words, I know.
In addition to the top-quality beer, you’ll also find a pretty impressive menu. We opted for the burger and salad and both exceeded expectations. We also saw a ton of folks ordering the pickles (I think it’s a house specialty or something, so we plan to try those next time).
Best Beer Oahu (FAQ)
How many breweries are in Oahu?
As of 2022, there are 11 operating craft breweries on Oahu. Of those, 8 of those are unique to Oahu, while two (Maui Brewing & Kona Brewing Co.) are satellite locations of Hawaii breweries from other islands.
How many breweries are in Hawaii?
As of this writing, Hawaii has 17 craft breweries. Of those, 10 can be found in Oahu — which means Oahu has the most breweries in Hawaii. The other breweries are sprinkled between Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.
If helpful, here’s a breakdown of the breweries in Hawaii.
Breweries on Maui
- Mahalo Aleworks
- Koholā Brewery
- Maui Brewing Company
Breweries on Kauai
- Primo Brewing Company
- Kauai Beer Company
- Kauai Island Brewery & Grill
Breweries on the Big Island
- Big Island Brewhaus
- Hilo Brewing Company
Best Oahu Breweries (Post Overview)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the best breweries on Oahu.
Best Breweries Waikiki
- Maui Brewing
- Waikiki Brewing Company
Honolulu Best Breweries
- Hana Koa
- Beer Lab HI
- Broken Boundary Brewing
- Honolulu Beerworks
- Aloha Beer
Best Breweries Oahu
- Inu Brewery
- Lanikai Brewing Company
- Kona Brewing Co.
- Lokahi Brewing Company
Map of the best breweries on Oahu
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