Abita Brewing Co. “S.O.S.” (Save Our Shores)

January 31, 2012

If the lead in to last week’s column sounded a mite familiar, it was because I kind of used a similar start way back in the earliest days of writing my reviews. The beer was Stone Ruination Ale, to be exact. Mea culpa. Although the allegory is correct, I am indeed guilty of accidentally self-plagiarizing.

Speaking of “guilty”… How about that ruling the other week by a federal judge in New Orleans? No, not the one forcing the LSU Tigers to try and score some offense, the one granting 6% of all Gulf Coast Claims Facility payouts to a lawyers’ fund. Really, guys? $1.2 billion on top of the 30-or-so% they’d make for winning a case for their client? Perhaps the judge ruled that way because we all know the few hundred lawyers handling claims are really struggling to put food on the table while those whose fishing and coastal tourist-based businesses are simply booming. Those whose businesses survived the oil spill to begin with, that is.

Atrocious. Words fail me. As a human, I’m embarrassed by such rampant greed. It reminds me of something mentioned in real-life-criminal-turned-author/actor Eddie Bunker’s phenomenal autobiography Education of a Felon. At one point in his younger days, Bunker is befriended by Louise Wallis, wife of famed Hollywood producer Hal Wallis (Casablanca and True Grit, to name a couple of his films). She explains to Eddie that “… rich people have a way of staying rich.”

Thankfully there are those still among us who take it upon ourselves to be truly charitable and considerate of our fellow man. In the case of Abita Brewing, .75c of every Save Our Shores Wheat Pilsner goes to coastal restoration. Hey, it’s a win-win; money for those who seriously need it and you, the consumer, gets a darn tasty beverage.

Normally, wheat beer is cloudy in appearance but due to the fact that this is a bottom-fermented pilsner, what we’re left with is a clear golden beer with a tall head of sticky foam. German Perle hops combine with Sterling, which is itself a hybrid of the noble German hop, Saaz, and Mt. Hood, a noble German clone of Hallertau, to give this pils enough oil for incredible lacing down the glass and plenty of gorgeous floral scents and flavors. Little hits of lemon mingle with grass and bready malt scents while the wheat contributes a little spicy citrus bite on the palate. Subtle herbal flavors follow with some fresh grain and mild bitterness. Texture is creamy with just enough carbonation to excite the senses.

To date, roughly $300,000 has been raised through sales of S.O.S. for coastal relief. Abita Brewing deserves huge thanks for this. In the meantime, there are others out there who should seriously re-think their priorities.