Maui Brewing Co.'s Mana Wheat (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)
Wheat beer just cries out for fruit flavors. Citrus and raspberry are traditional in Germany, and we've seen a couple of fine American apricot wheat beers. Now a Hawaiian brewery has taken the obvious step, throwing in locally grown pineapple. The combination works so well you might wonder why nobody seems to have tried it before.
The beer pours medium gold and cloudy with a high though not terribly persistent head. At first all you're likely to detect in the nose is a nice bright Hefeweizen aroma of bananas and clove. Ultra-ripe pineapple flavor shows up subtly in the medium-length finish (along with a mild hop note), then gradually becomes more noticeable, though never heavy-handed.
The exotic combination of bananas, clove and pineapple makes an excellent foil for shrimp, ham and pork, so think Cantonese or Thai, but this is a well-behaved beer that gets along fine with chicken or macaroni and cheese.
Incidentally, Maui Brewing Co. is on a crusade for the use of cans instead of bottles. It has a point. Cans are lighter, quicker to chill and easier to recycle, and they mean zero risk of sunlight damage to the beer.
Style: A German-style wheat beer with a delirious touch of tiki
Price: $11 to $12 per six-pack
Where to find it: Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822, http://www.beveragewarehouse.com; Beverages and More stores, http://www.bevmo.com; and Total Wine stores, http://www.totalwine.com.