Mahalo Aleworks: Tapping Into Something

Situated on the slopes of Haleakalā, Mahalo Aleworks delivers sippables, edibles, and a laid-back Upcountry vibe.

Head brewer Ben Kopf and his wife and co-owner, Jacquelyn, opened their Kulamalu Town Center taproom in April 2021, as Maui was emerging from the pandemic. Ben began brewing in 2005 and touts himself as “the nutty professor with big ideas that Jacquelyn manages to keep on the rails.”

That relationship made Mahalo happen, and the company gained unanimous approval from the Maui County Liquor Control Commission (not always an easy task).

Mahalo Aleworks located in upcountry Maui. Courtesy Mahalo Aleworks

The Kopfs vaulted over the COVID-19 hurdles and local red tape to create an enticing place for locals and tourists to relax and imbibe.

Their beer is locally sourced, but inspired by globe-spanning brewers with deep institutional knowledge.

That’s the craft beer model: small-batch, big vision, shared by other Maui-based breweries such as Maui Brewing Co. and Koholā Brewery.

“Our two glorious American white oak foeders, each with its own local wild yeast and bacterial culture are home to our two ‘mother beers’ from which most of Mahalo Aleworks’ sour and wild beers are created,” according to Mahalo’s mission statement. 

What’s a foeder (proper pronunciation: “fooder”)? That would be a large barrel—derived from the Dutch word, generally 160 gallons or more—where beer is aged. Mahalo Aleworks boasts a pair of them. Beers on tap range from the Hazy IPA to the pale Hoppy Kolsch to fruit-forward offerings with notes of guava, grapefruit and pineapple.

On the culinary side, Mahalo serves links and burgers from Upcountry Sausage Co. on the lanai, along with Beyond sausages and Impossible burgers for the meat-free crowd.

It’s a fresh go-to spot for Upcountry residents and people willing to trek a few miles for quality suds and ono grinds. 

Sip, stay, enjoy, repeat. 

Jacob Shafer