Kohanaiki is a private club community located on the Kona coast of the Big Island consuming nearly 450 acres of land with a shoreline displaying Hawaii’s finest surfing beaches, and best sport fishing ground. While Kohanaiki represents an evolving private club experience focused around luxury and sustainability, it is renown for its world-class member amenities including a Rees Jones-designed championship golf course and its 67,000 square foot Clubhouse that houses a bowling alley, movie theater, wine tasting room, James Bondish-card & cigar lounge and private wine lockers. In addition, Kohanaiki members enjoy a Sports Complex complete with tennis, basketball and a playground for children, the Beach Restaurant and Beach Bar.
But, one of the community’s most popular amenities is its on-site brewery located in the Clubhouse. Haute Residence sat down with Garratt Fitts, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager and Brew Master, to discuss the inspiration behind the growing brewing attraction and what is to come in the future for Kohanaiki.
Garratt Fitts had his first brush-in with brew while visiting a high school friend who was making homebrew in his garage. Although, this brew wasn’t very tasty, it left a lasting impression on him which eventually spiraled into a successful career. Fitts enjoyed the idea of creating something from scratch that people could enjoy together as a community, and brewing provided that opportunity.
While working at Kohanaiki as a server Fitts became well-known for his brewing skills and eventually was offered the opportunity to brew for the club. Initially, Fitts was brewing 10 gallons of beer per batch, but because of the popularity, these gallons, which each takes a month to make, were emptied within a week. To satisfy the demands of the club, management dedicated space in the Clubhouse to an on-site brewery, which would allow the homebrew system to grow from 10 gallons per batch to 120 gallons per batch and a state-of-the-art production facility with steam powered heat, and glycol chilled fermentation vessels.
Since then Fitts has developed a flagship lineup of beers which are available year-round. Drawing inspiration from classic styles of beer, Fitts puts his own spin on them to give his brew a different style. He wants to open people’s perceptions to the broad spectrum of the various flavors of beer. “Unfortunately, here in the U.S., most people associate beer with some mass produced, fizzy, alcoholic water. Not much depth in the leading brands here in the U.S. They are designed for mass consumption, not for any discerningpalate,” says Fitts. Some of the most popular brews created by Fitts include the Kona Coffee Porter and seasonal beers such as “Oktoberfest” which is brewed with Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin and Butternut Squash, served in a glass that is rimmed with lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs.
Today, the brewery has an attached tasting room, where complimentary tastings and appetizers are offered to members twice a week. In the future, Fitts plans on hosting club sponsored events like “Pub Trivia Night,” and “Beer Dinners” to highlight the abilities of beers to pair with food. The Tasting Room will also be available for Kohanaiki members to reserve for private dining.
For more information on Kohanaiki please visit Kohanaiki.com