The Okole Maluna from Lanikai Brewing.

When beer’s for dessert, try Okole Maluna

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By Will McGough
Special to Frolic Hawaii

After dinner, I usually reach for a nice whiskey or cognac. Physically, it helps with digestion. Mentally, it helps me forget that I just ate four pieces of pizza.

But tonight I’m feeling indulgent. I want more. I want something with body, taste, mouthfeel — something that will send me off to bed with visions of malt and barley dancing in my head.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think when you have a beer just before bed, it’s usually because you’ve been partying, and it’s the last one before you doze off. But today’s craft beer is versatile. It’s good for breakfast, and it’s also good for dessert.

What do I look for in a dessert beer? There are two things: 1) something dark, thick, brewed with chocolate, coffee and/or caramel, and 2) a boatload of alcohol.

That’s right — I’m looking for the dark stuff, and I want it to be high octane. Drinking beer on a full stomach is a responsible way to drink, but it can also be very uncomfortable. After a meal, I want something that I can have one of and catch a buzz on. Besides, beers with a lot of booze in them are, in general, rich in flavor and meant to be savored — just what I want in a dessert.

My current personal local favorite dessert beer comes from Lanikai Brewing. Owner and brewer Steve Haumschild once told me that he enjoys brewing beers with “childlike flavors.” What more could you ask for in a savory drink?

There are a couple Lanikai brews that fit the description of a dessert beer (remember Lime in the Coconut?), but right now, the bottle resting on my nightstand is Okole Maluna (translates to “bottoms up”), a Chocolate Haupia Imperial Stout.

It’s a banger at 10.4% ABV, and you’ll notice immediately that the velvety, roasty notes of the cacao and coffee are dominate, so much so that you almost have to search for the coconut, which comes through as a subtle undertone of flavor and sweetness. It is super smooth and pours a beautiful brown color with a tan, foamy head.

Mmmm … come to think of it, maybe I’ll have dessert with lunch. Give it a try, and let us know your favorite dessert beer here on island.

Get it: You can find Okole Maluna in bottles at Lanikai Brewing’s tasting room at 175-C Hamakua Dr. in Kailua. They’re open Thursday and Friday 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.