Abita Purple Haze

By on August 3, 2008 @ 10 PM (17 Comments)

In yet another Father and Son Thursday night beer review, we head down to south Louisiana and stop back by the Abita Brewing Company. We’ve visited many times before and we’re usually not disappointed. This time, however, we’re not exactly happy customers.

The Abita Purple Haze is one of the staples of their lineup and it’s touted outright as a raspberry beer. It’s pretty readily available anywhere and I’ve even found it on tap in San Diego. With that said we poured our 12 ounce bottle into an American pint glass and got an initial temperature of 41.2 F. The ABV rates in at 4.75%. We got an average 1 3/4″ foamy white head on our pour that dissipated slowly and left virtually no head lacing. There was no carbonation to speak of in the hazy golden body.

It’s a little light on aromas – we picked up wheat, vanilla and of course a lot of raspberry. There may also be some other berries in there but we couldn’t pull any out specifically. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a very good, fresh aroma, there’s just not a lot of punch in it. The flavors echo the wheat and raspberry, but not the vanilla. We did pick up a touch of lemon as it warms in the finish, but that’s it. Initial flavor notes are a light sweet, light acidic and light tart. The finish moves to a very light sweet, light bitter and light tart. The finish duration is short, the mouthfeel is dry and there’s a fair amount of body lacing. On the super useful The BeerFathers patented malt to hop scale it comes in just one click to the left of balanced on the malt side.

Bottom line notes – It’s repeatable, drinkable and balanced. It’s also memorable because you’ve probably not had a lot of other beers like it. No on the harmony and wow factor. Ultimately we probably wouldn’t buy this again.

Don’t get us wrong, we love Abita (probably a little too much sometimes), but this just isn’t one of their better beers. It’s not complex at all. The aroma is definitely the best part. Though it tastes like beer, it’s a bit too fruited for us. The hops may be the only thing that keep it from tasting like Kool-Aid. It may be a good refreshing beer for cooling off, maybe after mowing the yard, but it’s not a go-to beer. This is one of the few beers I’d say you should do with a frosty mug, because it’s better ice cold, which dulls the taste a bit. Don’t let it get too warm.

The reality is (and this may be their target market) it’s a good chick beer. A great craft chick beer. It’s very unique and it’s the first fruited beer I ever had that I actually somewhat liked. That was quite a long time ago though and I’m afraid my beer tastes may have moved on past it.

Abita Purple Haze Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

17 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. I was very sad to see Abita’s Purple Haze rated so low here. Although I am biased, as I’m a born-and-bred South Louisianian who once lived a mere 5 miles from the Abita Brewery and graduated high school with their brewmaster.
    Not to split hairs, but the brew is actually touted as a “Raspberry Wheat Ale” rather than just a raspberry beer.
    I really do enjoy this ale, but honestly it’s better out of the tap then out of the bottle. For a long time you could only get it as a draft, and it just tastes richer and fuller out of the keg. I’m not sure if it’s just a delicate brew that it best enjoyed as fresh as possible, or perhaps bottling it changes the taste.
    If you get the chance, try it on tap and give her another round. Maybe she deserves another point or two.

  2. John says:

    Lyell – you make some excellent points! Beers on tap are usually an automatic slam dunk to have at least one point added to their rating. And I’ve been down to Covington in the last two years (there for business, though both Father Beer Love and I call Louisiana home, albeit North Louisiana) and had an Abita Purple Haze on tap (at an Applebee’s of all places) and it was pretty special. Of course that leads to another issue – beers with food versus stand alone beers. I had it with food and some beers just do better with food – this may be one of them (some of the Sam Adams beers especially work better with food).
    You also hit on something we’ve really not discussed – proximity to the brew site in terms of freshness, bottling, shipping, etc. With a beer this delicate that could definitely have some bias. Of course, there could also be some bias in the 7000% humidity in our beloved New Orleans that makes a beer like this just about exactly what the doctor ordered when you’re in the Big Easy.
    Thanks as well for pointing out that it’s a raspberry wheat ale, if I recall the bottle used to say that, but nowadays it just reads “Raspberry Wheat Beer.” Wonder why they’ve downplayed that?

  3. Scott says:

    Good write up! I have this beer on deck myself, and being in NJ I wonder if I’m going to be getting an accurate idea of what the beer is like. Sounds good from the tap, not so hot from a bottle that travels? We’ll see I guess.

  4. ruth says:

    tasted purple haze at the disney world food and wine festival…since i do not like beer at all or liquor for that matter….this beer hit the spot…i could not get enough of it…it was similar to a dessert drink…loved it….

  5. Ok, I was about to write about my poor experience with Purple Haze and decided to Google it first and see what others thought, thus my post. Was extremely disappointed with it. It had no body and didn’t seem hold the taste well. Seemed like it was cough syrup and carbonated water. With the premium I paid and to mix up the variety at my tailgate this weekend (with beer sophisticates), I was exceptionally disappointed with the bottled variety.

  6. Nick at LSU says:

    This is my third favorite beer. First is Guinness. Second is Abita Amber. Personally growing up in New Orleans, I am a little biased to Abita. They always have great tasting beers. I have tried Purple Haze in both bottled form and on tap. I have to agree that I prefer it on tap. If you have only tried it in bottled form you do not get the full experience of the beer I think. If you have the chance try it on tap. I think you will like the outcome alot better

  7. Dad says:

    Nick @ LSU – Thanks for the comments. I am a big fan of Abita too. I see your favorite is Guinness, my favorite Abita beer has to be their Turbodog. I call it stout light. Geaux Tigers!

  8. Lynda says:

    I’m not a big beer drinker and I won’t pretend to be an expert but I really enjoyed my pint of Purple Haze. It was on tap and cold. It was light and refreshing and more to my taste. I don’t like all those party beers (Budweiser, Coors, etc) and I can definitely see why they called it a chick beer :)

  9. Well, I FINALLY had this beer, and coming back to compare notes I think your review is spot on. It isn’t a bad beer per-se, but it wasn’t anything special either.

  10. JCW says:

    Purple Haze is an awesome beer, out of the tap and in a frozen glass.

    I bought 2 6 packs of it in bottle today of which I have consumed 4 of in the last 2 hours. In bottle it’s not any better than a Bud light, ouch.

    But if you’re tired of domestics or the occasional Dos Equis at a Mexican restaurant I’d suggest this in a bottle just for something different.

    If you really to want to be able to enjoy the full flavor this beer has to offer, get it on tap somewhere. No different than other high end or micro brewery beers. Killian’s Red is the same way and so are Sam Adam beers. Bud could take a lesson from these brewery’s. Purple Haze on tap is a very flavorful beer. Not so in a bottle.

    I’m not a “on tap” beer fan but when your beer is better on tap to me than in a bottle you can bet I’m probably going to enjoy it immensely. And Purple Haze on tap is very enjoyable.

    I guess I have started becoming a “on tap” fan because there are a few micro brewery’s popping up around where I live. And there are some really good tap beers around because of it. Some beers you just can’t get in the store ;-)

    Even against some of the rare, specialty beers that you just can’t buy that I have had, I still give Purple Haze 4 and half out of 5 stars, on tap. Bottle, 2 and a half

  11. Hector Rodriguez says:

    I think the review on here was over thought and added complication where it wasn’t needed. This beer was not brewed for or out of complexity. It’s a wheat ale…Most wheat ales I have tried are not complex. They are what they are..A wheat ale and Purple Haze is a rather good one. Poured cold into a frosty pint glass, This ale is delicious. If you are looking for complexity, this beer is obviously not for you and you may want to reach for an Amber, Pale, IPA or even a Saison. If you want a easy to drink, light, crisp and fruit toned brew…. I highly recommend trying one. 6.5/10 – Bottle.. On Tap TBD

  12. John W says:

    I had it on tap with a Sunday brunch in a restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, New York. I basically agree with the review. Light and not much body. I prefer beers with more body and bite. I enjoyed it once but it would not be on the must have again list. My wife liked it and my son liked the official Purple Haze glassware that it was served in.

  13. Dad says:

    Hector, last week I mentioned you first comment to John after our latest review and he held up our review form (available for download) in front of the webcam and said “Dad that’s what we do, over think things” , ah the wisdom of youth. We, really look forward to the Abita Strawberry each spring and find it a better combination of fruit and beer.

  14. Sylvia T says:

    I loved this beer it was light not to sweet, the rasberry was not to sweet just right. I would buy this beer over and over.

  15. Grant says:

    I think this beer is one of the best on the market. It has just a tiny hint of raspberry to it and a good wheat flavor as well. It is not too bitter at all and is very smooth.

    This is not like any other beer around, but is a delightful alternative to normal beer drinking. I would suggest to anyone who has not tried it, to give it a go and have a taste of one of my personal favorites on the market.

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  17. Brady says:

    Tried this in a Saints bar outside of Nashville and found it to be wanting. Ordinarily I would presume that women might like it but my gf who does love her foo foo drinks and the occasional fruity beer would like this. I was wrong. She found it… un-good.

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