OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
Inside a bright yellow aluminum shack at a corner of Route 17 in Ocean Isle Beach twenty miles north of Myrtle Beach, MAKAI BREWING COMPANY began its journey in 2017. After homebrewing for 40 years and running a local brew club, entrepreneurial zymurgist Jim Hill decided to ply his talents towards crafting some of the smoothest, soft-toned, easygoing suds for Carolina’s summertime beachgoers.
A wood-boarded sea mascot helps bring a Hawaiian feel to Makai, a sparsely furnished pub with 10-seat lacquered wood serving station in the back servicing the concrete-floored interior. There are strewn wood community tables and a carpeted leather-couched section opposing the glass-enclosed brew tanks and an outdoor side deck provides further seating. An electric blackboard lists the current draught selections while board games, foosball and pinball machines activate libating guests.
My wife, dog and I make ourselves comfortable after a full day riding waves at Sunset Beach to try eight sessionable goodies.
A mellow collaboration with Lonerider, soft-tongued Coastal Connection Fruited Gose combined dry oaken cherry, salted lemon lime tartness and candied orange licks above soured white wheat breading.
Mild Berliner Weisse, Strawberry Rhubarb Temptress, let lemon-candied strawberry tartness pick up wispy kiwi, rhubarb and celery snips.
Soft lemon-limed pineapple, grapefruit and clementine tanginess relegated grassy-hopped NEIPA, Kamanawnal’ya, a brisk tropical moderation.
Perfumed citrus sweetness and mild herbal hop bitterness guarded dry malted Hoppy Lagerhead, a politely balanced India Pale Lager.
Slightly sharp piney grapefruit-orange bittering settled down for dry West Coast IPA, a tempered medium body.
Dry pine tones caressed dark chocolate malts for Powehi Cascadian, an IPA-based dark ale leaving floral-bound earthen dew and overwhelmed citrus spicing in its wake.
Soothing dark-roast Kona coffee nuttiness and dark chocolate bittering captured Nightingale Coffee Porter, a fine dry mocha sedation setting up Brewers Choice Dry Irish Stout, another mildly hop-charred coffee roasted pleasantry with latent cola-walnut-hazelnut daubs.