Luckily, even an ex-pat can find some minor comforts of home. Our local Latino population makes King Cakes (although they're only available on Twelfth Night), I can always whip up some Crawfish Etouffee (frozen tails, but still) and Abita products are widely available here.
Abita Brewing is located in Abita Springs, a small town on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, about 30 minutes outside of New Orleans. While Dixie Brewing was always the true NOLA beer (operating right there on Tulane Avenue, a short bike ride from one of my old apartments), they unfortunately were seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and have yet to resume production in their historic brewery. Abita, one of the early regional craft breweries, has stepped into the role of New Orleans Beer Ambassador to the rest of the USA, have inked distribution deals that have increased their national profile, and put their products on shelves in an ever increasing part of the country. This link will take you to their website, where you can learn more about their offerings.
|Dave (RIP), Dan and Your Humble Narrator circa Carnival '97ish|
Abita Mardi Gras Bock pours a perfectly clear, bright copper into the glass (and yes, I did have to use my vintage 70's Saints glasses for this photo shoot). It raises a good head that doesn't stick around for very long, but leaves decent lacing. It has a light, biscuity nose. There's a crisp, citrusy hop bitterness to it that counters the weight of the substantial, but not sweet maltiness. Other than the 6.5% ABV, I'm not so sure what's so bock-y about it. Perhaps I'm just accustomed to the over the top sweetness of Doppelbocks, and their even higher alcohol. This was, after all, developed in a time when the craft beer scene was much more limited in scope, and a 6.5% ABV was pretty strong stuff. It drinks easy, finishes clean and is the type of beer that you can drink multiples of. In other words, the perfect beer for enjoying at a Mardi Gras parade. Well, except for the fact that it doesn't come in cans...
I wish everyone a happy Mardi Gras, whether you're enjoying it in a place that celebrates it or not. Drink some Abitas, have some Popeyes and a slice of king cake, and keep the nudity where it belongs (in the company of adults, i.e. the Quarter). Throw Me Something Mister!
...cue the obligatory horn lick...