Home     About Me    Most Beer Blogs SUCK     Top 10 Most Wanted     Very Best of the Vice Blog    

Archive for the ‘Brewer: Abita’ Category

A Cornucopia of Christmas Beers

December 15th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Abita, Brewer: Blue Point, Brewer: Coors, Brewer: Sierra Nevada, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B-, Grade: C plus, Grade: C-, Style: Belgian Pale Ale, Style: Brown Ale, Style: IPA, Style: Winter Warmer

Feeling a little bit frisky on Saturday afternoon, I decided to buy every single Christmas/winter seasonal beer I had yet to have from the local supermarket and prebar with a cornucopia of the typically-spiced brews.

Blue Moon Full Moon

5.6% ABV

It is well-known how much I really kinda detest Blue Moon–Coors’ hush-hush attempt at trying to make microbrews–thinking it everything wrong with beer. Meant to be “good,” but in reality just mass-produced stuff that chickens out and appeals to no one. Too lame for real beer geeks, too non-watered down for novice drinkers. Though a lot of girls seem to like it if plenty of orange slices are added. I don’t know why I thought Full Moon would be better. The label actually almost convinced me with its claim to be an “abbey ale brewed with a hint of dark Belgian sugar.” Boy, the gall! I realized almost immediately what a con artist this bottle was. Well, not immediately. The first thing I realized was–beer snob alert!–this has to be one of the first twist-top bottles I’ve had in months. Kinda nice actually, I can never find my bottle opener and always need the Nigerian kid next door to bite my caps off. The second thing I noticed was that Full Moon poured quite dark, like a legit dubbel or something, whatdayaknow? Surely one of the darker American macros I’ve ever seen. The taste is all wrong though. Blue Moon again acts cowardly by ostensibly starting off with good intentions but by then pulling punches to try and appeal to the masses. What this actually tastes like is a decent dubbel that has been mixed with 50% tap water. Imagine that.

C

Abita Christmas Ale 2008

Unknown ABV (seriously Abita, list your fucking ABV, it’s like the only stat we all care about!)

Abita is another brewery that really rubs me the wrong way. Oh, how many times I’ve bought one of their beers, one of their countless new releases, thinking, “Hmmmm…that sounds interesting, that sounds good.” It never is. Abita is surely one of the shittiest prominent craft breweries in America. Nice labels, but everything they make is mediocre at best to absolute dreck at worst. Don’t tell that to a Louisianan though! Yet again, Abita tricked me here with their slick hologram-esque, unphotographable label*. This beer was just garbage. Not bad-tasting or anything, just not-tasting. Called a brown ale, it did indeed look that way, but tastes of absolute water. If the World Beer Championships ever held a contest to see who could make the darkest colored beer with no flavor, I think we might have our winner here. You fooled me yet again, Abita. What’s the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for like the forty-fifth time, Abita, and…yeah, I’ll probably still take a whirl on your next shitty seasonal selection.”  Got anything in the works for Valentine’s Day?  Perhaps a beer steeped with those chalky little candy hearts?!

C-

Blue Point Winter Ale

4.5% ABV

With all these shitty Christmas beers, I was starting to be happy to be a dirty Jew. Also because I don’t have to hang out with people I hate on December 25th, I can just go to the movies, eat steak, get wasted, and hang with sexy Jewesses (no, that’s not an oxymoron you antisemite). Blue Point, unlike Blue Moon and Abita, is a brewery that I have actually found to have made some respectable stuff in the past. No masterpieces or anything, but alotta solid efforts. Here is another one. Good hops and seasonal spices, this is probably the only legit “winter warmer” out of any of these four. I liked but didn’t love this one. Needs a higher ABV quite frankly to keep you toasty during the Yuletide season. At a minimum, though, Sam Adam’s and Brooklyn’s winters are better.

B-

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

6.8% ABV

OK, nice red label with a wreath framing a pastoral picture of a snowcapped log cabin and the name “Celebration” would certainly make you think you’re getting a winter beer, full of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and other egg-noggy type things. Nope. This is pretty much just a standard double IPA. And a good one at that. What in the world is Sierra Nevada thinking in making this their special winter seasonal? Who knows. But thanks, I guess.  Delicious and overhopped in a good way, sticky and full of citrus sensations, this one is worth searching out. As a “winter” beer this is an abject failure, but just as a beer, it is probably the best Sierra Nevada I’ve ever had and a damn fine IPA.  I can’t wait for Sierra Nevada’s summer beachtime seasonal release, tentatively slated to be a 13% ABV dark chocolate and coffee stout that actually give the inside of your stomach a sunburn.

A-

Final thought:  when are they ever gonna make me some Hanukkah seasonal beers? Perhaps a nice strong ale with tastes of potato latke, chocolate gelt, and dreidels? YUM.

*Perhaps they make unphotographable labels so that one can never actually prove they drank a shitty Abita beer?

Abita Andy Gator

September 8th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Abita, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Barley wine

11% ABV on draught, so say the waitress though no place confirms this number

I lived high on the non-kosher hog this summer, abusing my mind and body on the weekends with villainous al-kee-hawl. I’m not a 19-year-old year old any more, that fact has become abundantly clear. Why is there no modern-day Carry Nation around to swing an ax at my pint glass to prevent me from imbibing?

Thus, I thought I’d make the first weekend after Labor Day into a teetotaler’s delight. Thought it might be fun to see what would happen to me after a weekend of sipping on ginger ales and Yoo-Hoo. How razor-sharp would my mind become? How much energy would I have? How taut of spectacle would my belly morph into? How easy would it be to pick up women?!

Ah fuck it, I’d popped my first brew by Friday at 8 PM.

After making my friends and I personas non grata at the inglorious Press Box last week, we had to find a new locale to watch college football on Saturday. Enter Mara’s Homemade, a Cajun juke joint owned by some real-life Looooo-see-anna natives, a husband and wife team whose alumni roots cause them to root for both LSU and OU and likewise have all their games on their sole flatscreen.

God must have been mad at all the sodomites, homosexuals, Jews, and/or sinners in New York, because he allowed his great flood waters to stretch up north our way over the weekend. By the time I’d sauntered into Mara’s at the 3:00 hour, my jeans were wet up to my knees like I’d been noodling for catfish all morning. Shoulda wore some capri pants. Those effete Euros sure know where it’s at.

After tripping the lights (and tipping the bottles) fantastic on Friday night, I truly did not want to drink on Saturday afternoon. But the sweet lady that owns Mara’s so convincingly convinced me that I had to. “You want a Hurricane, don’tcha, hon?” is what she said the second I slopped into the restaurant, my Nike Shox squirking like leaky galoshes. And though she asked a question and said it ever-so-sweetly with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes, I’ve never so much felt the peer pressure to order some booze. And let it be said, this lady was at least three decades from being my peer.

The Hurricane was exquisite and potent. I don’t know if the women intentionally hooked my sexy ass up or if Mara’s Hurricanes are just always so rummy. A part of me thinks it the latter. My career record with Hurricanes is a bad one as they have always lead to me doing something foolish and waking up the next morning in a pile of garbage, my first encounters with this devilish concoction dating back to New Year’s 2001 on Bourbon Street when I was only 21 and was drinking 64 ouncers at an unholy pace. I only had one of Mara’s though, so the aforementioned would not lead to the lattermentioned. It was a bit syrupy, as all Hurricanes are, and a second was simply not in the tarot cards.

I chilled for a bit then, munching on Mara’s food. It’s solid, good, if not a bit overpriced and non-plentiful. I will still hail the Delta Grill as the finest Cajun restaurant in Manhattan. But Mara’s is worthy and certainly worth visiting if you find yourself in the East Village. A quaint little place with just the absolute nicest people running it. However, I would highly suggest they offer some gameday deals and knock a buck or two off their across-the-board $7 (!) pints if they want more customers.

Look, you wanna know how to run a bar, Mara’s, get me to drink number four. That’s all you gots to do. Because if I order a fifth drink then I am hunkering down for the entire night. So charge me $5 for a pitcher of beer and then you can charge me $5 for beer #5, $6 for beer #6, and by beer numbers 10plus, I’ll probably give my ruined liver to have just a taste.

Mara’s has the full line of Abita brews, pretty much every major pop that overrated brewery makes on either tap or bottle, shipped north to NYC at a bit of premium from what I understand. Our oddly sexy, shorts-jumper-wearing waitress–the daughter of the owners perhaps–suggested Abita’s barleywine Andy Gator. From my steel trap memory I knew that beer got horrendous reviews online, but I love barleywines so I had to try it.

A few minutes later, a pint that was a watered-down pale golden color like a Miller Lite was set in front of me. “I ordered the barleywine actually,” I said, thinking a barleywine should be a ruby red/amber/dark purple color even.

“Oh, that’s the barleywine, hon.”

Odd.

I smelled it. No odor whatsoever. What barleywine has no smell? Stuff like Old Guardian or Fred is so potent in smell that its fumes are almost enough to get you loaded. Not so with Andy Gator.

The taste was even worse. Honestly, even from taste I could not identify it as a barleywine. It tasted…terrible. I had my friend call up the Beer Advocate reviews of Andy Gator because I was absolutely certain something was wrong. The tap lines had been crossed. Nope. Indeed Andy Gator is considered a barleywine and indeed it pours a light golden color.

I tasted absolutely no hops it in. Heck, I tasted absolutely nothing good it in. Very little flavors. Just harsh, bad alcohol. Tastes almost like a malt liquor. And a cheap one at that. Not Colt 45, more like Bum’s Bathwater fortified wine or something. A terrible beer. I could barely finish it.

The worst was the sweet old lady came by to ask my thoughts on her beloved Abita. I wish I could have said, “Wait for my review on theviceblog dot com on Monday!” but I couldn’t hide the obvious disgust on my face.

At the least, I can confirm that it may indeed be 11% percent because even after a day of stuffing my face with some crawfishy app (solid), fried okra (eh) and a catfish/oysters po’ boy (delish), I was kinda wobbly as I headed back into the Manhattan monsoon.

Abita, if you can’t compete with the big boys, don’t attempt something as ambitious as a barleywine. You’ve made the worst one I’ve ever had by an order of magnitude. And if I was the “Andy” this beer was named after, the gloves would be off.

D+