Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

By on May 12, 2008 @ 10 PM (2 Comments)

Louisiana is a special place in the The BeerFathers household – son Beer Love was born there and spent his first 25 years there. And though Father Beer Love wasn’t born there, he’s called it home for well over 30 years. Because of that Abita beers may get a special nod in the beer love department, though we’re not opposed to telling you how we really feel about them – see the Abita Wheat and Abita Mardi Gras Bock reviews as evidence. That said Abita Springs, LA wouldn’t be a bad place to call your final resting grounds.

With the Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager we didn’t know what to expect going in – our experience with fruited beers in the past hasn’t always been remarkable (see Sam Adams Cherry Wheat), but this one seemed too good to pass up. We do know one thing from the Abita Purple Haze – Abita knows how to fruit their beers.

Father Beer Love was the first to buy it, having seen it in an ad for Albertson’s, and quickly called to say that a 6 pack was in order. Needless to say in that time son Beer Love has been through two 6 packs and as he writes this may be making plans for his third.

For our official review we used a weizen glass and on the pour got a huge 3″ white foamy head that gave a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated slowly. The beer temperature came in at 45.1 F from the 12 oz bottle. The body clarity was clear and almost sparkling, with a soft carbonation and a yellow to golden color.

The aromas, though not great in number, were scintillating – strawberry, vanilla, sweet biscuit, heavy cream, dough, batter and white cake. It smells very much like a strawberry shortcake or a white cake with strawberry icing.

The tastes were in line with the aromas, and we got an additional barley note in the flavor. The initial flavor gave us light sweet, light bitter and light tart and the finish stayed true to the initial flavor. The finish duration was average, the body lacing was fair and the mouthfeel was a little dry. On the malt to hop scale it was slightly skewed towards the hop side, just a little off of perfectly balanced.

All said it tastes like dessert! Beer for dessert – and that suits us just fine. Memories of childhood – a sweet warm biscuit split and buttered with real butter, covered with strawberries the size of your thumb that had real flavor sliced and macerated with real sugar until the juice came out and cold heavy cream poured on top and and let set for a few minutes to let the flavors blend (what we didn’t know then about cholesterol and saturated fat). You can tell these are real, great Louisiana strawberries in it, and they are understated enough to be enjoyable – it has a definite beer taste to it and the strawberries don’t overwhelm. The bitterness, sweetness and tartness all work together to make it quite enjoyable and refreshing. It’s not very complex, but it is quite satisfying. Worthy of a 12 pack and a great session beer – it’s a gulper. It’s a shame to drink just one though. It’s repeatable and quite drinkable. It’s memorable and even has that wow factor we look for. The harmony is so-so but would we buy it again? Yes and we have.

This is just about the perfect spring beer. Ideal for 60 to 80 F weather. We don’t think it would work in the summer, fall or winter. Spring is just about right. If you want to label it with a season call it a good Easter beer, which coincides well with the strawberry season. A great way to cut the yellow dust (pollen) that covers everything, especially after mowing. Drink it fast though, it probably won’t keep well for months on end. Buy it young, drink it quick and enjoy spring and its new rebirth of flavors. Everyone we’ve shared it with has loved it. The overall rating is a solid 4, plus one point for nostalgia and tasting like our youth – strawberry shortcakes with real cream, not Cool Whip. Don’t get too critical and don’t over think this, just take it for what it is – a good, enjoyable treat of a beer, not a top beer in the world by any means – and you’ll love it. Get it soon though because it’s a seasonal and won’t be around all year. And though we didn’t use it for the review – a frosty glass or mug would be perfect for this one.

Tangent: In typing up this review I kept mistyping strawberry as strawbeery, perhaps because of my poor grammar skills, but perhaps because the marketing switch in me is always turned to “on”. In retrospect this might be an even better name for the beer. Or at least a good descriptive phrase. Who knew? Strawbeery!

Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

2 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. David says:

    I am drinking this as I type it. First Abita beer I have had and I like it. I will have to try their Purple Haze soon.

  2. Bruce Hackmann says:

    Bought a six pack back in May or June for the wife, but of course I have to try one. Of all places I tried it – the horseshoe pit at my place up north. Now, all the bud and busch light drinkers up there know I bring all the “crazy beers” up with me. But taking a strawberry beer to the horseshoe pits – I was asking for it. They gave me the business as I cracked open my first one. I am not big on friut flavored beers but I will drink one on occasion.
    After two sips I was surprised – this is good. So, the six pack was not just for my wife. While the guys made fun of me while we threw some shoes – they all ended up trying a few sips. Everyone of them said, “wow – that is good.”

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