I recently took a trip to Maui. Don’t feel sorry for me, it was incredible. I took the wife and kids to the island a couple years ago and did some soda reviews (check it out), but this time around we were able to see the humpback whales and stay in a condo with a towel washing service. Two of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced.
I also did a revisit of Maui Brewing Company. Last time I was around I took a tour of their brewery and reviewed their Island Root Beer. It’s still one of the best root beers I’ve had. This time I stopped by their Lahaina restaurant and indulged in some tater tots. Not just tater tots, but TOTS DYNAMITE. As if the beer cheese sauce, kimchi aioli, and garlic crema weren’t compelling enough, I added chorizo to bring it to another level.
Does $14 sound steep? Welcome to Maui. Regardless of the pricetag, these tots delivered the goods.
The tater tots were fried well and stayed crispy. That’s not exactly a miracle with frozen tater tots, but they were good nonetheless. The beer cheese sauce was worthy of poetry. It made me realize that I adore beer cheese sauce. The beer gives it a deep umami funk, the cheese makes it taste like cheese. All good things. The kimchi aioli was nice and added a bit of heat, but I’d have appreciated more of it. The garlic crema was exactly what you’d expect. Tasted like garlic. I’m always down for jalapenos and caramelized onions, and the chorizo really made the dish into a meal. This is a perfect shareable dish.
You want to wash those tots down with something? MBC has you covered on that as well. I already mentioned their home brewed root beer (still awesome), but since my last visit they introduced a cola and a ginger beer as well. For this meal I actually went for a mocktail called the Cola Di Da.
I know that I did this out of order, but I had a mocktail made with the Island Cola before actually trying the Island Cola by itself. Given my experience thus far i was confident it would be good, but charred pineapple syrup and lime sounded too good to pass up.
Charred pineapple is one of my favorite things at a Brazilian BBQ (rodizio). The heat brings out the natural sweetness of the pineapple, but you also get some caramelization around the edges. This syrup really brought that experience to a soda which I had never considered before. Fresh lime juice rounds it out and keeps it light and fresh. Now I want to make my own charred pineapple syrup. It was good enough that I’d make a special trip if I was in West Maui.
So, I’m gonna give the Tots Dynamite an 8.9 out of 10 on my rating scale. Outrageously good. I’ll give the Cola Di Da an 8.5 out of 10. Overall, fantastic. I picked up one of the Island Colas at an ABC store and it was good, but I’d still call it an average to above average cola (maybe an 8?).
I also picked up a ginger beer. That was better. It was sharp, and bright, and spicy enough that I choked on it a bit. They use Hawaiian ginger and natural ginger flavor. Whatever ratio of those two things they settled on does the trick. The root beer is still the star of the lineup (a lot of honey with a deep root body), but the ginger beer is a strong 8.5.
Catalog: Visited the brewery/restaurant in January 2019