Abita Purple HazeBy
A 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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