The Mysterious Case Of Hawaii's Beer-Scented Stream

Beer mavens may want to reroute their upcoming vacation itinerary to inhale their favorite aroma in the dreamy valleys of Hawaii. The Aloha State is notorious for endless coastlines, Spam-forward dishes, and embracing island time, but the valleys of Waipio in Honolulu are getting a new reputation. An eco-activist, Carroll Cox, was relaxing by a stream in Waipio when his nose sniffed out a distinctive odor, reveals Hawaii News Now. "The other day we came here you would think it was a beer pub that hadn't opened its doors for three or four days," says Cox. He reached out to the Department of Health right away to alert them of the scent of the strong hops, knowing something wasn't right. Officials hit the scene to determine the source of the smell and ultimately discovered the stream could give fishes a buzz.

The stream in Waipio is in an unlucky location, not far from a freeway. While the Waipio valley may appear majestic and untouched by mankind, a slew of warehouses and businesses sit just on the other side of the interstate. After investigating the spill, the Health Department discovered that the stream had been contaminated by a storm pipe running from Paradise Beverages, giving Paradise of the Pacific a whole new meaning.

The frat party-scented stream is impacting more than our senses

The stream may belch the strong scent of beer, but the taste won't match. Although, guzzling enough could give you the spins. Hawaii News Now worked with FQ Labs to test the water and discovered that 1.2% of the H20 was alcohol. Not only was the water boozy, but it was packed with sugar, .04% to be exact. Alcohol leaks won't just leave wildlife with a hangover — unfortunately, ethanol can cause fish to suffocate when mixed with water, according to a Mass Department of Environmental Protection report. 

Ethanol may be rather quick to decompose in surface water, but the process can harm the environment. In order for the compound to break down, it needs to work in overdrive and hijack all of the available oxygen, leaving sea creatures on their last lap. This was sadly displayed back in 2000 when Coors Brewing Co killed thousands of fish after a huge beer spill (via ABC News). The cause of the spill into the stream in Waipio is still a mystery according to Paradise Beverages, who shared that the leak "may" have come from them, but they're keeping it vague. While the drain has stopped leaking drunken liquid into the stream, some damage could already be done.