Kim (my wife) and I were planning a relaxing getaway to the mountains on our anniversary earlier this year. The hotel was booked and paid for, a couple brewery tours planned, restaurants picked out that we wanted to eat at…pretty much everything was in line ready for us to roll towards Asheville, North Carolina. We both needed a relaxing weekend and we had everything ready to roll.
In typical fashion for Kim and I, we threw everything out the window and changed plans the night before. If you know either one of us at all, that is par for the course. Kim and I were talking the previous day we left about how excited we were that UK had made it to the final four. Being from Kentucky, this was the pinnacle moment for us in the sports year. After a few minutes of conversation happened the next thing I knew was that I was online looking for tickets and hotels in downtown New Orleans and completely trashing our pre-planned weekend.
I ended up buying final four tickets online and searched the web and called hotels for three hours until I found one that just had a cancellation just as I made my phone call so we could squeeze in downtown New Orleans with all the madness. It was set…we were headed to the final four in New Orleans to watch our Wildcats win the national championship! We both were ecstatic beyond belief.
Kim and I drove 11 hours Friday from Knoxville to New Orleans and hit Bourbon Street wide open as soon as we got there. We met up with some old friends from high school unexpectedly and started walking up and down Bourbon Street enjoying something cold from Abita at every bar we stopped at.
It was very interesting walking around the city indeed. It seemed as if we were in some odd, fake staged town from a movie. The only people out in public were fans, sports greats from the NBA and NFL, coaches, and random celebrities mixed in. Oh, and we can’t forget all the people dressed in terrible costumes who wanted tips just for buying something stupid and standing in public while wearing it. That’s real talent…here’s a dollar.
Now I could write a book about our experience in New Orleans from the fun we had, our friend getting mugged, the topless women we saw in public, eating Lucky Dogs from the street vendor way after midnight, our beloved Wildcats winning as we expected, and seeing just plain weird things. But, I won’t expand on all of that for this story. But, I will throw in a couple pics just to quickly highlight the fun!
We’ll skip on ahead to the other part of the trip, since this is a beer blog, about our visit to Abita Springs, Louisiana to visit the Abita Brew Pub!!! Kim and I hit the road Sunday from New Orleans and headed about an hour north to head to Abita Springs, Louisiana. We were pumped to visit one of our favorite breweries in the country and enjoy some good cold beer!
As we pulled into town of Abita Springs we realized we were really going to have a good time. It was a clean, down home type little town that looked like it was a place you could leave your door unlocked on your house. We passed the Abita Brewery, which was of course closed on Sunday, and made our way to the Abita Brew Pub ready for some down home cooking and down home beer. We were not disappointed with either!
If this place was in my hometown, I would be a fat, lazy drunk and die of gluttony probably. The food was freaking amazing!!! Kim got a Cajun pasta dish that would rock your face in half, literally. Everything about the dish was definitely a solid 10. I, however, opted for a more traditional route and ordered the cheeseburger and fries. Now, I’m not going to kiss anyone’s butt and say that magical fairies flew out of my mouth as I tasted the cheeseburger, or it was the best ever, or I saw fireworks when I took a bite…but it was a friggin’ good cheeseburger. I would put it on par with me grilling one at home.
As soon as I sat down I had a feeling there was something there that I had never heard of or tasted and I obviously wanted that first. Indeed there was. I asked and the lovely waitress told me the house speciality is called a “Barney,” which is not on the menu. A Barney is simply Abita’s Purple Haze mixed with their Andygator, which is Abita’s high gravity dopplebock. The waitress said this batch we were drinking from was brewed around 11% alcohol. Needless to say I didn’t drink a pitcher of those,but I could have!
I had my share of everything on tap, but I also brought home enough Abita beer and merchandise I could start my own Abita store. LOL. I bought a few glasses, a growler, two twelve pack cans of amber and purple haze, and one of each of their 22oz bottles featuring SOS, Abbey Ale, 25th anniversary Vanilla Double Dog, and Andygator. I also went out on a limb and bought their Jockamo IPA.
Now if you know me you know I despise most IPA’s. I can’t even smell them, much less taste them. They smell like an old dirty prison sock was used as a strainer for the beer. I’ve tried to drink them…trust me. You can’t force a glass down my throat of most of them. But I actually like the Jockamo IPA from Abita to mix up my normal habits. (My normal habits could mean a hefeweizen one night and a chocolate stout the next, so take that habit however you want). Point is there is something for everyone at Abita no matter your taste buds.
Now I don’t pretend to be high and mighty or tell people that I’m a beer snob or connoisseur. But there is more out there in the world than two companies’ light beer that you can drink. That’s like saying the only place you shop at is Wally World. Really? You don’t support local shops? You buy everything you need there? Really? Just try local beer like Abita once and if one of their beers doesn’t make you switch from big brother corporate America version of watered down beer I call pisswater, I’ll be shocked.
We’re not talking about wearing a tuxedo to a wine tasting fundraiser where there’s a dude in the bathroom to wipe your butt. We are just talking about good beer from a home town brewery. To me it’s simply part of Americana. A trip to the Abita Brew Pub definitely makes you feel American. It reminds you of home or what the words home town should mean. It makes you feel good knowing that a company in a small town is doing well and is celebrated by the town folk and by beer folks all over the country. I’m proud I can say I visited Abita and I’m happy they actually care what beer tastes like. Don’t be scared. Try something new!