Abita Purple Haze

March 13, 2012

If you follow your nose heading down Palafox these days there’s the heavenly smell of burgers sizzling in the air.  The Tin Cow is now open to satisfy the sensibilities of carnivores even late into the night.  While not re-inventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination The Tin Cow stands out for its sandwich add-ons and its canned beer selection.

Who else around is goofy enough to offer Korean kimchee as a topping?  Anyone down for some Spam?  Bacon mayonnaise?  Yes, please!

Speaking of bacon, the house-made potato chips are fried in bacon fat and finished in a proprietary blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and hickory liquid smoke.  The smell alone is enough to convert the most rabid vegan to the dark side.  Grilling burgers, bacon chips… Yankee Candle Co., you paying attention here?

Traditionally, the best beer pairing with a burger is either porter or stout.  The roasty flavors and heavier textures work wonderfully with the savory umami of beef.  I prefer Murphy’s Stout from Ireland; a good habit acquired from my visits to Calahan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, Al.

What about a pairing for those not chowing down on the cow?  I recently had the “A-Brie-C” sandwich and found the fruitiness of Abita’s Purple Haze a sweet counterpoint to grilled chicken with brie cheese, arugula, green apple and Guinness mustard on rosemary foccaccia bread.  It turns out Tin Cow isn’t the only new thing on Palafox… Abita just started canning 3 of their flagship brews and TTC, for short, is home to Florida’s first restaurant placing of Amber and Purple Haze.

Purple Haze is a wheat-based lager loaded with fresh raspberry puree.  Normally members of the lager family are clear by definition but the addition of the puree gives the beer a cloudy puce-purple tint.  The nose is all raspberry-raspberry-raspberry with a slight, dusty whiff of wheat.  Flavor-wise, well, fruit beer usually doesn’t give a lot of wiggle room for other tastes to show through.  Plenty more raspberry here but it’s a pleasing off-sour flavor with mild citrus and clove via the malt and wheat.  It finishes light and crisp but leaves behind plenty of reminder of the dominating raspberries.

All of the above combine for a terrific pairing with many foods.  Very low bitterness and a light 4.2% alcohol content makes for a thoroughly sessionable beverage worthy of repeat visits.  Canned Abita and The Tin Cow: two tried and true ideas presented in a new vessel working great together.