Abita Brewing Talks Fruity Beer - Paste Magazine
Abita Brewing Talks Fruity Beer
By Loren Green | February 15, 2017
The beer scene is a quickly flowing river these days, with many unpredictable twists and turns within its dynamic current. With trends ranging from session beers to kettle sours to whatever weed was growing in the backyard, it can be hard to keep track of who is doing what because they believe in innovation and who’s just jumping on the bandwagon.
Fruit beers have a long history, but recently breweries have used fruit to enhance the already present sweet notes in the hop and barley build of a beer, giving said beer an extra kick. “We love making fruit beers,” explains Abita’s brewmaster Mark Wilson. “It’s one of the things we’re known for. We want to use as much local produce as possible and we just want the fruit to enhance the flavor so you know you’re drinking beer.” Abita, New Orleans’ 31-year-old brewery, brews some well-known fruity beers, like the raspberry-infused Purple Haze and their spring seasonal Strawberry Lager.
While grapefruit and orange IPAs are all the rage today, and cherry and raspberry sours are regular one-offs around the country, Abita has been brewing with strawberries, peaches, and oranges for decades. We talked with Wilson about getting fruity.
Paste: What inspired the Strawberry Lager at Abita?
Mark Wilson: It’s part of our Harvest series of beers where we’re using locally sourced produce. Not only do we do Strawberry Lager (which was the first in the series, started in 2006), we also do Blueberry Wheat, Peach Lager, and then Sweet Orange Lager.
There is a large strawberry growing region about 20 miles west of our brewery. Strawberries are harvested in the early spring and it’s a perfect match. Our brewery was based on the concept of making beers that complement the culture and cuisine of south Louisiana, and the strawberry beer really sits well with that. It goes well with crawfish boils and things of that nature.