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Ola Brew Introduces Fresh Pub Grub Menu

June 21, 2019, 11:45 AM HST (Updated June 21, 2019, 9:24 AM)
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    “Ola” in Hawaiian means “life” and an important part of life is bringing community together in a positive way. Ola Brew, located in the old industrial area of Kailua-Kona, does just that. Recently, the popular pub began serving “small kine” food, because nothing brings people together better than good food and a cold pint.

    The mission of Ola Brew is to encourage growth in Hawai‘i’s agricultural economy by purchasing local ingredients and incorporating them into their beers and ciders, both of which have gained rapid popularity on the island.

    “One of the reasons we are making ciders, is because there is so much fruit that goes to waste on this island,” said Naehalani Breeland, marketing manager for Ola Brew. “We can purchase those B-graded fruits to use in cider. It’s a creative way of looking at our food system. We can supply farmers with seed, and then those farmers can supply us with the meat we serve. Our goal is to have a very high percentage of local ingredients.”

    Ola Brew creates thousands of pounds of waste weekly in their facility—everything from grain, hops, yeast or fruit waste. Breeland explains how they put this waste to use.

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    “We give this waste to local cattle farmers and pig farmers,” she said. “The hops and yeast waste make great fertilizer, so we create a tea with the waste and give it to our farmers. Then the fruit waste, of course, is a great compost and pig feed. Pigs love our lychee and pineapple waste. It creates a cycle when we give it away and then bring it back into the restaurant. It’s the circle of life.”

    Ola Brew’s philosophy is that the quality of a product starts with the quality of ingredients. They use the freshest local ingredients from Hawaiʻi Island, thereby increasing the demand for local farms. It’s a way to care about the community. Ola Brew is also both employee and community owned, creating a dedicated and caring staff.

    Some of the delicious menu items to try are the farm fresh salads like the Cabbage Crunch, made with finely julienned cabbage and carrots, tossed in a pineapple miso and ginger dressing, and topped with macadamia nuts. Even the house salad is far from boring with its local greens and island-grown produce, tossed with a house-made Dijon. The stand-out salad is the Caesar made with romaine hearts stuffed with tossed Caesar salad, house-made croutons and scratch Caesar dressing.

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    For a more substantial pairing with your brew, try one of Ola’s six delicious flatbreads—all made with sourdough. The Margherita flatbread is created with house-made garlic oil, island-grown roasted tomatoes and herbs, and topped with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil micro-greens. The hearty Circle of Life flatbread is the perfect blend of mozzarella and parmesan, mushrooms and island raised pork that was fed a diet of Ola Brew spent grain and topped with arugula.

    The most original item on the menu is the Poke Melt. It’s like grandma’s tuna melt went to culinary school.

    “The Poke Melt is made with focaccia from Sundog and poke from The Poke Shack, which was rated the No. 1 poke in the world on Yelp,” said Breeland. “With the Poke Melt, we were looking for creative ways to present the ingredients. One day, Brett Jacobson, founder of Ola, was messing around and threw some poke on a focaccia roll then put some cheese on it. It turned out to be the best tuna melt ever. With super fresh poke and a little oven time, it gets to be a really nice moist and flavorful dish.”

    “Ola is about bringing together different local ingredients from our island,” she continued. “We’ve taken this foundation and created an incredible scratch kitchen where everything we are creating is down stairs in our kitchen, except for the things that we are sourcing from other local businesses. It’s fresh food, good ingredients and perfect to pair with your beers and ciders.”

    Ola Brew is located at 74-5598 Luhia St. Call (808) 339-3599 for more information or go online.

    Cabbage Crunch at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Ceaser Salad at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    House Salad at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Margarita Pizza at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Ola Cider flight at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Brew flight at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Poke Melt at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Circle of Life flatbread at Ola Brew. PC: Karen Rose

    Karen Rose
    Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.
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