Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hinano Tahiti

When I was in Portland over Christmas, I went shopping at the local Cost Plus World Market to see what their beer selection was like compared to Reno. I have to say that while a lot of beers were the same, they had some pretty cool beers from other countries (I found a Norwegian beer named "Ø"!). One of my finds was a Tahitian beer by the name of Hinano Tahiti, which I snatched up.

From what I gathered on their website and on the bottle, this beer was first brewed in Tahiti in 1955. For the opening year they went all out, engraving their distinctive "vahine" (Tahitian for "woman" or "girl") logo onto their bottles and launching the Miss Hinano festival. They then expanded internationally: China got Hinano Tahiti in 1960, Japan in 1991, and France in 1992; it is unknown when it was imported into the United States for the first time. The 33 cL longneck bottle (the size I bought) was introduced in 1998. I still have no idea what "Hinano"'s probably Tahitian for something. I asked that question in the e-mail (Website)

Here come the stats:

Hinano Tahiti
BREWERY: Brasserie de Tahiti S.A., Papeete, Tahiti
U.S. IMPORTER: Young's Market Company, Orange, CA, USA
STYLE: Lager, maybe a pilsner
ABV: 5%
AWARDS: "Gold medal in Luxembourg, Brussels"

This information either came from the bottle or Hinano Tahiti's website, which is unfortunately Flash-based to prevent direct linking. I plan on sending an e-mail to both Brasserie de Tahiti S.A. and Young's Market Company asking them about additional information on this beer.

For an 11.15 oz. beer, this one almost overflowed my glass (probably because it took a little tumble just before I took it out of my beer fridge). It poured a pale yellow color, almost like a slightly opaque straw color, but the accompanying head was puffy, bright white, and long-lasting. The smell had a mixture of metal and citrus, which reminded me of pilsners. The taste pretty much reflected its nose, except I could taste the carbonation and bitterness. Its aftertaste originally held the same taste slightly, then changed to a wheaty taste, but after the first few sips, that pilsner taste was all I could taste (leading me to say "taste" six times this sentence...I think I need to go to bed). I'm sure part of the reason my tastebuds had trouble with this beer is that it was served just above freezing thanks to a fridge malfunction.

All in all, not a bad beer, especially if you enjoy those Central and Eastern European pilsners like Pilsner Urquell. Not my cup of tea, but people like bitterness more than I do. I have no clue on distribution, but it's probably only found in select stores on the West Coast.

À votre santé !

UPDATE: Special thanks to Hinatea, who told me that "vahine" means "woman", "girl", or "lady", and that "cheers" translates to "manuia".


Hinatea said...

Ia Orana from Tahiti,

Nice post !

"vahine" means girl/woman/lady.

"cheers" could be translated into tahitian as "manuia"

Sunny regards,

The Beerocrat said...


Thank you for very much for your translation help! By any chance, do you know what "Hinano" means? Does it mean anything in Tahitian, or is it a name, like Budweiser?

Thanks again,

The Beerocrat

Robert said...

"Hinano is the name of the Pandanus flower. It's also the most famous tahitian first name in French Polynesia."

FYI: that came from Hinano's website.

sunnykjj said...

Hi - Any chance you might know where I can buy some Hinano tahiti beer glasses? My husband got some years ago in tahiti but the picture/logo has washed off the glasses. I'd love to get him some new ones as a surprise.

Rammy said...

OH man. Let me confess. This bear is one of its kind. Yes i am from cameroon, and this bear is so sweet, that i have never thought of checking its origin. Thanks for the assignment. When i complete my research, then i will let you guys know. I am going to the industry to inquire tomorrow afternoon.

The Beerocrat said...


I'm glad you're such a fan of the beer. Let me know anything you find out.