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Abita Purple Haze

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purple_haze1A couple of my friends from New Orleans have been recommending I try beer from the NOLA area brewer Abita, so when I found a few bottles recently I grabbed them up.

But after drinking Abita’s Purple Haze “Raspberry Wheat Brew”, I’m not sure I want to waste my time drinking any other Abita brews. This beer was nothing like what I expected.

In fact, Purple Haze was less interesting than my ill-fated encounter with Michelob’s Hop Hound Amber Wheat. By comparison, the Purple Haze makes the weak and simple Hop Hound seem like a stellar wheat ale.

So what did I expect?

Let’s take a look at the description on the back of the bottle:

Purple Haze is a crisp, American style wheat beer with a fresh raspberry puree added after filtration. The result leaves a fruity raspberry presentation in the beer. The premium raspberries provide the lager with a subtle purple coloration and haze, a fruity aroma, acidity and tartly sweet taste.

Are they seriously talking about the beer I just drank?

The Purple Haze poured pale yellowish-gold. There were some suspensions, but nothing that looked like a raspberry puree, and certainly no discernible “purple coloration”. Abita’s Purple Haze had a thin, short-lived white head. As for the aroma, I could detect only a subtle hint of fruit — but there was even less raspberry in the taste. If they genuinely used “premium raspberries”, they aren’t present in the taste. There’s so little raspberry flavor that I wouldn’t be surprised if Abita simply ground up a purple Pez pellet and dissolved it into each bottle.

If not for the shadow of bitterness present in the aftertaste, the barest suggestion of raspberry flavor, and the sediment suspensions, I’d confuse Abita’s Purple Haze for a college-party lager. I barely detected anything like a wheat beer in my glass.

Which brings up a good question — can this really be considered a wheat beer? The label describes Purple Haze as a lager — and I thought that wheat beers were top-fermenting, and therefore not lagers?

It’s possible that the label is a typo, or that I’m wrong about wheats not being lagers. But I think they brewed up a lager, thew in some raspberries, and called it a “Raspberry Wheat” because the tagline “Pez Pee-Pee” was too controversial.

Don’t waste your time on this beer.

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Categories : Beer a Day



Good to know, I was wondering about this beer. So… you bring up an interesting point re: wheat lagers. Wheat and rice are often used as an adjunct because they have fermentable sugar but impart different qualities. Rice is used in Budweiser because it imparts virtually no flavor and helps keep that ‘crisp’ profile we all love, and wheat helps to create a really ‘light’ body.

So while wits and hefeweizens are indeed ales, you can use other fermentable starches along with your malt to make a wort, even with lagers. My guess is that wheat was simply used along with barley malt. A homebrewer could probably go into more detail, but that is how I understand it. Abita Turbo Dog is alright if you’re looking for a little redemption for the brewer- nuttin to write grandma about though.

On a side note, I enjoy the angry reviews oh so much. You should do a week of tasteless lagers: Schlitz, High Life, Bud Light Lime, Pabst, Coors… I hear AB has a Clamato beer too… mmmmm – then again, maybe that’s just torture.


Chris, I’m glad you came to my rescue with that answer. I didn’t realize a lager made with wheat would be considered a “wheat beer” but obviously that makes sense. The result, sadly, is significantly different from what I think of when I consider a wheat ale.

Fortunately, I have very little occasion to write “angry articles” because I try to avoid bad beer — if I only get one beer a day, I’d like to enjoy it!

I did, however, drink Coors Light one day this year. I didn’t trash it — a decision that generated a few piqued emails, but if you read the article I think you’ll understand it was all about the perspective required for Coors.

Should really get a working “search” function up and running…

And to everyone who has sent me email defending Abita, I have heard your outcry and will give Abita another chance. The two beers you’ve been suggesting are Abita Amber and Abita Turbodog. I have bottles of both waiting for me in my basement — I just read the back of the Turbodog today and since I’ve discovered a new love of brown ales, I think that will be my next Abita brew.


ah, i hate– *hate*– to admit that i ordered this at a bar the other night (for the first time since leaving nola) and couldn’t finish it. theory: perhaps these beers taste better in, and are made for, the zillion-degree swampy heat of a nola summer? i still miss abita’s strawberry harvest lager (only available during the strawberry harvest, and rather like drinking liquified jam), but it would be wrong to drink it this far from the bulldog. sigh.


Alexandria – you’ve hit upon a recurring theme on this site: whether or not a beer could be so disappointing as to warrant being poured out. You’ve added another element for consideration — the setting! Certainly, some beers taste better in defined climates and moods.

That said, I’ve continued to see praise for Abita’s Purple Haze. That makes me wonder if I simply got a “dud”, or if my taste buds are abnormal. I won’t know until next year when I can drink another — but if it still tastes like “Pez Pee Pee”, I’ll most certainly pour it out.


I would advise going off of tap in Northgate Tavern outside of LSU campus in the heat of a summer night.

The beer is an acquired taste, but after a while it CERTAINLY grows on you. I’m more of a dark lager fan myself, but on a hot balmy summer night or the power outtage of a hurricane…nothing beats the coldest Purple Haze you can find.


This beer sucks. That is all.


Found this brew about a year ago in bottles @ a local cafe. Your batch must have been old (no dating on the bottles), but mine was delicious and had a nice swet finish. There was/is a purple tint color.

I prefer to look past pretentious wheat talk and drink things for enjoyment. This beer now has such a hugh popularity in my area (Pittsburgh) that now it’s available on tap. Yea, they couldn’t keep the beer in stock, so kegs of this brew were brought in to quench their/our thirst. Even the 2 local supermarkets that are licensed to sell bee in PA, can’t keep it in stock.

Now, that said, it’s not the finest brew, but as Cade posted, it grows on you. It’s very drinkable and nothing like the “Hairy Eyeball Ale” from Lagunitas Brewing that leaves an unwelcome furry layer on the tongue that I found only can be properly stripped by adding a shot of whiskey to the glass.

In conclusion, this beer is’t for everyone, but if fresh, it leaves a pleasant raspberry aftertaste with subtle wheat undertones. If you want an adventure, try it to give your pallet break from the stale and if you don’t enjoy it, that’s OK, it leaves more for the rest of us.


I tried this beer since I really like wheat beers and I thought raspberry would be a good addition. The head was just as described above, good by short lived. There was no raspberry smell, but I did enjoy the fruity aftertaste. As far as the beer goes, I could not taste any wheat, it was like drinking water, I couldn’t even tell if there was alcohol. I would not recommend this beer at all!


Let me start out by saying that I don’t care for beer much and am more of a cocktail person. What originally drew me to this one in a beer case at a local eatery was the phrase of “A Malt Beverage” I like malt beverages such as smirnoff ice, seagrams, mike’s, etc. When it said on the back it was a beer with raspberries I decided to give it a try anyways. My husband who likes beer a lot didn’t care for it. Myself….it was the first time I could actually finish a beer. I would choose this again going someplace where my usuals are not available. Both my husband and I would recommend this to someone who is not much of a fan of beer as he has been searching for years for a beer that I would actually finish and this one has been the only one so far.

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