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Out and About

A Taste of Paradise Ciders

I heard nothing but good things about Hawaii’s first hard cider brewery so my friend Matt and I decided to check it out. Located in Kalihi, Paradise Ciders is in the industrial block next to OCC. If you’re lucky, you can find parking out front. Otherwise, you may need to cruise the area in search of street parking.

We walked into the tapping room which is the size of a miniature hangar, yet without the feeling of being crowded or cramped. We were the first ones there this particular Saturday afternoon so we sat at the counter, which probably seats 6. Shortly after sitting down we noticed several patrons coming in. The industrial chic style is informal yet inviting, and all the material is resourced. I noticed a few tables here and there with only 1 long table big enough to fit a party of 10. I would advise coming early to grab a seat while you can.

We sit at the bar and take a look at the wall menu of available cider selections. Delectable descriptions put us at a quandry as to what we should order. Would it be the Leid Back Lilikoi? Or the Ginger Bomb? Luckily, flights of four 8-oz glasses allowed us to satisfy our curiosity of more than 1 cider.

The first menu shows ciders that the brewery provides to about 50 dining establishments in the state of Hawaii. Small batches are made of the ciders shown on the seasonal small batch menu, and are only offered in the tasting room. My flight consisted of Mango Daze, Pineapple Cruzer, Guava Lava, and Killah Dragon. .

L to R: Mango Daze, Pineapple Cruzer, Guava Lava, Killah Dragon

Aaaah, my first taste of the Mango Daze. The crisp taste of a cider, and a mango-flavored one at that. The subtle taste of mango hits your tongue but with an oh-so-subtle bubbly crisp taste. The ciders here are brewed with well-known local fruits such as guava, lilikoi, and dragon fruit. The Pineapple Cruzer didn’t do it for me. I love pineapple, mind you, but I’m not sure I like my pineapple as a cider. The “acidic” pineapple mixed with the slight bubbly of the “ciderization” (yes, I made up this word) overrode the fruit flavor for me. I didn’t notice an aftertaste. I loved the Guava Lava. Smooth with the light and fruity flavor of guava, and almost to the point where the aftertaste was all guava. It’s a perfect drink to have while watching a sunset on the beach. I would rate Killah Dragon below Guava Lava. I could taste the dragonfruit but it wasn’t a very strong flavor compared to the guava.

Matt and his Killah Dragon.

Serena tends the bar and was willing and able to answer any questions. Her husband John is the brewer and owns Paradise Ciders with his business partner and brewer John. Before I forget, Kaia is their ever-present canine companion at the tasting room.


Feel free to check this tasting room out. Small but spacious, Paradise Ciders is a great place to sample the ciders and hang out with friends. They only serve pizza, but over the weekends the food trucks front the street outside the hangar. I highly recommend coming early to avoid the crowds.

Paradise Ciders
2003 Colburn Street
Honolulu, HI 96819

Wed – Sat 3-8 pm
Sun 1-6 pm


An Evening of Wine Pairings

Friends Ashley and Leslie prepping for an evening of wine pairings.
An evening of wine pairings with Ashley and Leslie

Can I just say I love my neighbors Ashley, Liv, and Leslie? Leslie has a side gig offering wine samplings at a grocery store chain around the area. So the other night she invited me over to partake in what was left (the equivalent of a couple of shot glasses per wine bottle) of the samplings.

I’m not a wine connoisseur by any means, and I won’t pretend to be. However, I enjoy my wines. I like sampling them at first and figuring out the character of the wine. Is it heavy? Light? Refreshing? Fruity? Sweet? Dry? Is it pleasing to my palette? Is it crisp? Full-bodied?

I show up with guacamole and rambutan as a thank-you offer, because I can’t go empty-handed when I am invited over. Well, the spicy guacomole wasn’t going to pair well with any of the French wines that were offered, but the rambutan was a hit with Ashley’s daughter. And Ashley’s daughter M was generous enough to leave a single rambutan for Leslie to eat, ha ha ha!

Vegan charcuterie was the theme for the night, courtesy of vegetarian Leslie. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take photos of what we ate, but I was able to take photos of the wine we imbibed!

We started off with the white Bordeaux consisted of 100% unoaked chardonnay. It was served with triple cream Brie, apple compote and rice crackers. What a difference in taste when sipping before and after. It was interesting to notice the taste before and after having eaten a little apple compote and rice crackers. The apple compote brought out the taste of apple in the bordeaux along with other fruit flavors.

Bottle of Domaine Des Valanges
Started off with the Domaine Des Vlaanges

The next wine we sampled was the Drappier Rose Brut Champagne. That was paired with crudites and hummus. Fruity and refreshing, it was a nice light finish to the crudites.

Champagne Drappier Rose Brut
Champagne Drappier Rose Brut

I must admit, the next wine we tasted was my favorite. The Chateau Giscour Margeaux Bordeaux was a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 5% cabernet franc, and 3% petit verdot. That was paired with oven-roasted asparagus drizzled with red chili olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Although the wine pairing took place several weeks ago, the taste of the Margeaux is unforgettable. A beautiful dark red color, the taste of dark berries in this pure-tasting wine was spot on, the asparagus lending the perfect backdrop to showcase such a beautiful wine.

Chateau Giscours Margeaux

Last but not least we sampled Le Bordeaux de Larrivet Haut-Brion Vin De Bordeaux 2016, a white blend of sauvignon blanc and Semillon grapes. To accompany this wine, Leslie served us roasted kabocha pumpkin glazed with brown sugar and cinnamon. A light and fruity wine, this Bordeaux blend was a nice contrast to the sweet-glazed pumpkin.

White Bordeaux Combo of Sauvignon blanc and Semillion grapes.
Le Bordeaux de Larrivet Haut-Brion

Leslie is a wealth of knowledge in regards to wine pairings. Ashley and I absorbed it all along with the various samplings and food. Honestly, you can’t go wrong when drinking and dining with good friends.