I know I just wrote about Abita two weeks ago, but something’s come up threatening my Abita Shrimp Boil. That something is a big threat to our Gulf ecosystem: Lionfish.
Whether these fish ended up in the Gulf when someone got tired of them as pets or a hurricane washed them out of a dentist’s office aquarium, they weren’t meant to be here and the damage they’re causing is becoming significant. See, they’re eating up all the sea life they can and they have no natural predators in our waters.
These pests eat grouper, snapper, shrimp, you name it. And they eat a lot, every day. They don’t discriminate, either. They’ll go after juvenile prey yet to reach a reproductive age, exacerbating the eradication of a species. Jerks.
Lionfish females lay up to 2 million eggs a year leading some experts to project that much of our Gulf species could be extinct in 20 years. Think about all the commercial fishermen, seafood restaurants, markets and scuba guides who stand to lose out if this happens.
Enter Edible Invaders. This company is spear-heading – all pun intended – a business to help get these things out of here. They pay divers to swim down and spear as many as they can bring in. Luckily, Lionfish are stupidly docile around humans. From there, Edible Invaders turns them into a gluten-free dip using natural ingredients.
Why am I talking about fish when I’m supposed to be pontificating about beer? I’m hosting a low country shrimp boil at Hopjacks this weekend and we’ve invited Edible Invaders along to discuss this Lionfish issue with our guests. And if we don’t do something, there soon could be no more shrimp boils, and who wants that?
The entire idea of doing a shrimp boil came from my contact at Abita Brewing. We both wanted to feature a couple of their seasonal items in a fun way. One of the two is their Seersucker Pilsner, but I reviewed that one a while back already. Instead, I’m showcasing something that was made with a seafood boil in mind: Louisiana Spiced.
Abita made a beer that has some of the savory elements of a seafood boil – whether it be shrimp, crawfish or crab – but can also be enjoyed if you don’t have one of those handy. Brewed with a touch of cayenne, celery, lemon peel, paprika and bay leaf, it evokes memories of a boil while enhancing the overall boil experience if the two are joined up. What you get is a slightly-hazy gold beer with nicely-balanced scents of spice, pepper, citrus peel and sweet malt. Flavor-wise you’re going to find lemon tea, umami elements from the celery and bay leaf plus a lingering chili finish that tingles just enough. Surprisingly refreshing and different!
There’ll be a great prize raffle with proceeds to benefit Coastal Watch Alliance plus multiple Abita and food specials. Check our website for full details. In the meantime, let’s eat some shrimp before the Lionfish get them all and drink a beer made for the occasion. Boil party is 6 pm, Saturday, June 25.