Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager
March 9, 2011
I know, I know… I just talked about an Abita product a short three weeks ago. Far be it for me to sound like I’m flogging the same horse but sometimes these things are unavoidable. Every so often, a brew like this comes along that’s a hands-down, across the board, tried and true winner everyone seems to agree upon. Add to that the drink’s highly limited availability and there’s only so much time to consider this one.
Abita Brewery has three seasonal beers per year – Satsuma Orange, Pecan and the current spring release, Strawberry Harvest – and of the three the Strawberry is the big mover and shaker. So much so that last year, before even a single drop of beer was ever brewed, the entire projected batch of it was already allocated for sale. Think about that for a second. Imagine you own an auto dealership and you know exactly how many cars are coming in on your next shipment yet you also know, for a fact, that every car is already sold to your customers.
I guess that gives Abita the kind of job security that’s becoming increasingly rare in a time where mega-conglomerates like Inbev-Budweiser are snatching up smaller breweries and then cutting their strings. Not only does Abita enjoy the satisfaction of knowing entire runs of product are spoken for, it allows them to grow successfully. If the facts were related to me correctly, the Strawberry Harvest expectation dictated that Abita expand their production floor to accommodate the increase in demand.
There’s a lot about this beer that reminds me of the wild strawberry patch in the woods up the street from where I lived as a kid in California. We’d swing on vines that hung from the trees and over a creek in an attempt to impress the local gals. Once that failed (and/or we fell into the creek) we’d retire to said patch and pick it clean. Something else from my youth keeps popping up in my memories as I drink this: Crunchberry Captain Crunch cereal. No wonder it’s almost dangerously appealing to one and all! The connotation makes sense if you think about it… fruit and cereal grains merged perfectly. No need to look too deep for what’s nice about the Strawberry Harvest. The wheat used in the malt gives it a nice cloudy appearance and enough body and texture to stand up to the fresh Louisiana strawberry juice. It’s sweet, but not overtly so with subtle jammy notes mingling with the grain flavors. Shortcake and fresh-whipped cream appropriately comes to mind as well. Grab one fast because, just like spring, it’ll be gone before you know it.