Friday, June 12, 2009

Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager Review

Brewery: Abita Brewing Co. | Beer: Strawberry Harvest Lager
Style: Fruit Beer | ABV: 4.2% | IBUs: 13
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into Pilsener glass

Abita Strawberry Harvest LagerI love to try local beer, and luckily for me the state of Texas is (despite what one might guess) rather fertile ground for great craft beer. But what about the surrounding states? Is there good beer flowing in the states around Texas as well?

To answer that, I set out to pick up a beer from New Orleans-area based Abita. Years ago, a friend and I worked our way through a mixed Abita twelve-pack. From what I remember we were pretty impressed, but that was before I really knew anything about beer, so I figured it was well past time to try some more Abita.

Now, usually when I pick up my first beer from a brewery, I like to pick either their flagship beer or their take on one of my favorite styles. This time, however, I decided to switch things up a bit. Despite a very full stable of beers available here in Houston, it was the Strawberry Harvest Lager that first caught my eye. Read into that what you may...

Strawberry Harvest Lager is a Fruit Beer based on what Abita calls a wheat lager base. Here's how they describe the beer on its label:

Ripe, red Louisiana strawberries are harvested at the peak of the season in the early morning chill. The scent of the juicy red Ponchatoula berries fills the air as they're picked and pressed for Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. The end result us a light, crisp lager with just a hint of strawberry sweetness.
It sounds a little storybook to me, but it's what actually ended up in the bottle that really matters.

Appearance: A pale golden, slightly hazy body with a sudsy finger of near-white head that recedes rapidly and leaves little lacing.

Aroma: Quite simply, strawberry shortcake. Much closer to real strawberries than strawberry candy. The malt base is firmly in the pale malt range and seems a little sweet (though that may be the strawberries mixing in). I have to say, this is intriguing and alluring.

Taste: Still lots of fresh strawberries, though more muted than in the nose. The Lager comes through much clearer here than in the nose, but unfortunately it's a little grainy and average. The two flavors just don't mesh that well, I can't help but think that these strawberry flavors could have found a better housemate than a boring Lager. The aftertaste is pretty short, and tastes of strawberries and grain.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with good carbonation. The finish dries up a bit.

Drinkability: Decent, providing you like strawberries.

Verdict: In all honesty, I have to say I like this. It reminds of me of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat in a way: it's a fruit dominated beer that just seems a little wrong, but you can't help but like it. This is miles ahead of Cherry Wheat, but still not a great beer. Worth a try if you're a strawberry fan, but rather forgettable.

Grade: B-

No comments: