Abita Amber Lager

May 4, 2011

Okay, I guess I’ll make it official. I am now a citizen of Mobile, Alabama. Hopjacks’ little brother down I-10 needed a general manager so the boss asked me to step up and take the reins. Now, when it comes to moving, I remember a “stress level” chart from a psychology class way back in high school that assigned a numeric value to important changes in one’s life. The passing of a family member was top of the list, understandably, while moving was number three.

I tell you… between relocating your entire life to a new city, running a restaurant and re-discovering the “joys” of deep muscle burn from hauling your home’s contents up a flight of stairs, I could use some neighborly comfort. Turns out, thankfully, Mobile has a long-running history of just that.

It seems as if every night of the week here at least one bar is giving away boiled crawfish provided the guests buy drinks. They don’t skimp on the selection, either. Three rounds of fresh mudbug served up about an hour from each other. The requisite corn on the cob and red-jacket potatoes are there but depending on the bar you may find mushroom, asparagus, sweet potato or even Brussels sprouts on your plate. Mobile has two constants, however: link sausage from Conecuh County and jealously-guarded, secret recipe boil mixtures. Oh, and trophy-size crawfish. I swear some of them are simply lobsters that never had a chance to grow up.

I always thought the crawfish party was strongly a Louisiana thing but in my four years in New Orleans I only ever found the private-invite boils. Maybe I was looking in the wrong direction. Mobile wins this round but I’m gonna pick a Louisiana beer to pair up with my crustaceans; namely the Abita Amber. The malt sweetness is a perfect counter-balance to the big, nose-run-inducing sizzle of boiling spices. As the name suggests, it’s amber in color with a pretty head of tan foam. The Amber has nice scents of grain and baked goods with flavors of caramel, toasted biscuit and a hint of orange rind at the finish. Make sure yours is nice and crackling cold to put out the spicy crawfish fire your mouth is going to turn into.

So cheers to my new neighbors for knowing how to make a fella feel welcome. And cheers to Abita for crafting a beverage that truly makes a shared stack of tasty crawfish seem even better.