By Will McGough
Special to Frolic Hawaii
Windward beer fans, a new tasting room has opened in Kailua. Three Peaks Island Craft Beer & Gifts is on Kuulei Road, just across the street from the library. Run by a husband-wife combo, the unusual concept pairs the passions of the two: a craft beer tasting room and growler filling station alongside a boutique shop that sells T-shirts, sunglasses, soaps and the like. Here’s a look inside.
It is indeed an unusual look: a long beer bar with smooth wood finishes and fixtures (some of them made locally by Rust & Root Furniture) sharing space with a boutique filled with pastels. The two spaces feel like separate stores.
Co-owner Steve Manser dedicates all 20 tap lines to local products: 14 for rotating selections of beers brewed in Hawaii, 2 for Sky Kombucha, 2 for Paradise ciders, 1 for cold-brew coffee and 1 for root beer. On a recent visit we found among the choices Honolulu Beerworks’ Sheltered Bay IPA, Kauai Brewing’s Golden Ale, Maui Brewing’s Ali`i Imperial Pilsner, Aloha Beer’s Vog IPA.
Manser says he will occasionally have an out-of-state beer on tap, but very rarely. Otherwise, it’s about all local beers, all the time.
GROWLER FILLS AND SAMPLES
Manser is a home brewer who describes himself as a beer geek, and one look at Three Peaks’ website will confirm that. The content is dominated by long descriptions of the scientific methods he uses to fill growlers. Three Peaks has a top-line filling machine that helps keep the beer fresh longer inside the growler, meaning the beer will still be carbonated days later if left unopened, and that it will retain more carbonation even with opening and closing (losing carbonation has been the problem with growlers). It’s a fun machine to watch in action – don’t miss it.
Three Peaks doesn’t sell pints – it can only fill growlers. But, you get three free samples of beer with each growler fill, which ranges in price from $16-$19. The samples are small, but you can still take your time, sip them and hang out with others doing the same. That said, it is not a place to really settle in – you’ll be in and out in 20 or 30 minutes.
Three Peaks’ local beer selection is its bread and butter, and the number one reason you’ll want to stop by if you’re a growler guy or gal. It will be interesting to see how Three Peaks and nearby Grace in Growlers coexist. Three Peaks has more local beer on tap, but Grace in Growlers has pub-type seating and sells beer by the glass as well as by the growler.
FOOD AND SEATING
Three Peaks doesn’t have a kitchen or any seating—it’s standing room only at the bar). They sell small packets of jerky to munch on as you sample beer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hang around: Tasting, mingling, lingering and chatting are encouraged.
There are a couple of spots behind Three Peaks; otherwise, it’s street parking.
Three Peaks Island Craft Beer & Gifts
270 Kuulei Rd. #101
Weekdays and Sundays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. -9 p.m.