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  • Writer's picturePaige Latham Didora

[have you tried?] …anything from abita lately?

[have you tried?] features a small glimpse at the under-appreciated brew, a neighborhood gem, an oldie but goodie, a new classic, or an often overlooked treat.

I frequently assert that most people, restaurants, and beers deserve a second chance. And with many breweries reinventing themselves and significantly upping their game lately, the statement is even more true. The best example I have is Alaskan, and Schell’s is not far behind — two great breweries that have become even more relevant, creative and downright tasty recently.

credit - Abita

credit – Abita

Abita, though, is different. I’m going to go ahead and say that they have been doing it right for a very long time, I was simply oblivious.

Recently the selection of Abita beer consistently available in the Twin Cities has exploded and their spring seasonals alone are worth a serious shout out.

Until recently, I only knew Abita for their classic Purple Haze, a raspberry-infused wheat beer perfect for warm days and those gradually getting into wheat beer. Sure, I had heard of the hard-to-classify Turbodog, which falls somewhere within light-bodied dark ales that fake out even experienced drinkers. But to me Abita was not a head-turner.

Well my head certainly turned at a recent tasting at The Four Firkins in which a large part of the Abita line-up was being sampled including the classic Purple Haze and Turbodog along with the Strawberry Lager, Spring IPA, Grapefruit Harvest IPA, and Jockamo IPA. I was blown away and so pleased to welcome more of the New Orleans beer to local shelves where it really deserves a place.


First, the Strawberry Harvest Lager is a gem. It has such a fresh strawberry flavor paired with crisp pilsner and wheat malt and subtle sweetness. It would be absolutely perfect for a spring evening but I just may stock pile this baby for the rest of the summer, too. The Louisiana strawberry juice is added after filtration, so it is not fermented at all. This results in an incredible aroma and authentic taste.

credit - Abita

credit – Abita

Despite the intense strawberry, I am willing to bet that those who may turn their nose up at other fruit beers would potentially enjoy this one; the fruit taste is unfermented and authentic.

Also from a fruit perspective is my latest beer addiction – Abita Grapefruit Harvest IPA. This beer is over the top in terms of fresh fruit flavor and interplay of citrus rind and hops. Pale, pilsner, and caramel malts add a depth behind the genuine grapefruit taste and cascade hops.

If the Grapefruit Harvest is simply not enough hops, step up to the Jockamo IPA, an intense mix of Willamette and Columbus hops in harmony with an amber-leaning malt bill. The Jockamo is punchy and intense but not overwhelming. At 6.5% it is not too much to handle along with another beer or two (and trust me, you’ll end up wanting to drink each one of these Abita goodies!) I can imagine that it would work very well with spicy foods like a traditional gumbo and it would also cut through heavier dishes very easily.

But beyond a food pairing, mix it up with a bit of funk-meets-Zydeco with a song written for this IPA’s namesake, Iko Iko by my guys Root City!


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