... we were staying in Kailua (walking distance to Kona BC) and leaving the next day...
When staying in Kailua it is best to stay within staggering distance of Kona Brewing Co. I'm glad you got there. Goooood beer and food. Castaway IPA!
Great beer and food, it was awesome. We went three times, once the first night we were there, another day for a tour, and then for a quick beer on our way to the airport. We really
wanted to hang out there for the tsunami since they seemed to be just out of the evacuation zone, but they closed so their staff could go home and evacuate their families. Which I totally understand, but man it would have been nice to just sit there for several hours sampling beers and watching the waves on TV.
... Plus by the time we got to the turnoff to go to Kalapana there was a torrential downpour that made driving less fun...
Ah yes, welcome to the windward side. Love those tradewinds! We get 180" of rain a year at my house. No rain - no rain forest. Up on the windward slope of Mauna Kea they get 260" rain per year.
It was really an insane downpour to be driving in, we could barely see with the wipers full blast. We have our rainforests too, but they average more like 150" per year and they're a few hours away, I don't live there
We would have stopped in Hilo and we even drove by Mehana Brewing but since it was Sunday it was closed. Everything was closed. Next time.
I'm not sure when next time will be for being back on the Big Island, but we're talking about burning some frequent flyer miles and going to Maui in April . . . I'm sure it will be awesome, there's breweries there.