Rather than come up with all-new specials to celebrate 35 years in business, Islands Restaurants decided to bring back customer favorites no longer on the menu.
One such winner with the audience is the Islands Golden Ale, which is once again handcrafted exclusively for the Carlsbad-based chain by the Karl Strauss Brewing Co..
My beer palate has evolved to the point where pale ales, IPAs and Double IPAs are my go-to brews, although nothing beats a Mexican beer with Mexican food and a lager or a session is a must under the unrelenting hot sun.
What I appreciate about an ice-cold Islands Golden Ale is it has something for both beer-drinking worlds. Medium-bodies, it is refreshing without the heaviness of the craft beers, starting and ending smooth. But fear not, brewery snobs, Islands Golden Ale is no piss water, as you'll appreciate the floral hop and toasted malt notes by the time the elixir hits the back of your throat.
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Indeed, it's just got enough boldness to pair well with Islands’ signature burgers, although I would recommend ordering another 35th anniversary special that, like Islands Golden Ale, is available until supplies run out: the Waimea Burger.
Inside a fresh toasted bun is a tasty burger topped with Kalua pork, fresh grilled pineapple rings, Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. That is all smothered with a tangy teriyaki sauce, providing a sweet and savory flavor that the brew washes down winningly.
Speaking of winning, the staff was killing it at the Islands' location on Barranca Parkway near Culver Drive in Irvine. From the hostess to the waiter to the manager, all were very well informed about any menu item my party asked about, offering suggestions that proved to be big hits at my table. I definitely won't wait 35 years to go back.
Islands Golden Ale and Waimea Burger are available until supplies run out. Go to www.islandsrestaurants.com to find one of the 56 locations across Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. The Weekly visited the Islands at 4020 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, (949) 552-1888.