It's probably not hard to guess where this root beer comes from, but i'll go ahead and tell you anyway. Waialua Root Beer is bottled in Waialua, HI and has only been around since 2003. My wife has a cousin who lives on Oahu not far from Waialua. If i had known about this root beer back in May 2007 (or been doing this blog back then), i might have made a special trip to visit the bottling plant while my then fiance and i were there visiting. Waialua also makes a few other flavors that are centered around flavors found in the Hawaiian Islands such as mango, pineapple, and vanilla cream. These four flavors are all Waialua Sodaworks produces at this moment. I think when my wife and i retire in the Hawaiian Islands (which we intend to do), we will have to sample all the other flavors as well.
Waialua bottles all of its sodas in clear 12 oz. glass bottles. They kind of make a point of using clear glass bottles because it's what all companies used to do in the old days or something. Hmmm... neat. Anyway, the label is a lot of fun to look at if you are a guy and a great source of jealousy if you are that guy's wife. My wife hates the label, as well as the fact that i can't stop looking at it even now. That's right hula girl... shake that skirt of yours. There is some writing at the bottom that looks like it is of Asian origin. I was surprised to discover that Honolulu has a large population of Japanese people, so i would guess it's Japanese. But it doesn't really look like Japanese to me. I would ask a friend of mine that used to live there, but he only pretends to speak Japanese and doesn't really know any of it. He's basically worthless when it comes to speaking and reading Japanese. Plus he's allergic to milk, so... you know... can't trust him anyway.
Waialua sticks to its promise of using only native Hawaiian flavors because their root beer doesn't taste like root beer at all. All i can taste is brown sugar. It's not a bad taste, but it is rather overwhelmingly sweet. Not what i am looking for a in a root beer personally, so it doesn't really do it for me. Additionally, Waialua has little carbonation in it and tastes a bit flat.
My official review is that Waialua gets 4 (four) IBCs. It's not a typical root beer. I think it's a stretch really to call it a root beer at all, but i'll go with it for the sake of argument. I loved Hawaii when i was there and am more than happy to promote anything Hawaiian, but i can't in good conscience give it more than a 4. It's decent, but sweet and lacking in the real root beer flavor. Try it if you'd like, especially if you're in Hawaii (it might have a different effect over there), but i would choose other standard root beers over this one when it comes to taste.