In earlier articles I discussed Louisiana’s rich culinary traditions and the craft breweries that make flavorful beers that complement the state’s food culture.
Many Louisianians’ first taste of craft beer came from Abita Brewery who paved the way for the current craft beer renaissance in the Pelican State.
The oldest and largest craft brewer in the southeastern U.S., Abita Brewery is located in Abita Springs about 30 miles north of New Orleans. In the town’s quiet setting you will find the 14th-largest craft brewery in America, the Abita Brewery.
The company brews every beer with artesian water from springs located in the area.
Abita opened its doors in 1986, well before the modern craft-brewing boom, and has been providing quality craft beer and good times for its loyal customers ever since.
Each Abita beer flavor pairs well with Louisiana’s seasons, the hot and humid summers followed by football season, which leads right into Louisiana’s spring crawfish and festival season. Abita beer is a staple in many Louisiana recipes and has become a favorite of chefs and eaters alike.
Abita Amber, Turbodog, and Purple Haze make up three of the company’s flagship brands. Purple Haze, a lager with raspberries added after filtration, has been recognized as one of the healthiest craft beers by Men’s Health magazine.
Another favorite is Abita Andygator, a German-style helles doppelbock that packs a punch at eight percent alcohol by volume. The beer has a malty backbone with a flavor that is as distinctive as Louisiana cuisine.
The Restoration Pale Ale was released following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which ravaged south Louisiana in 2005. Proceeds from each six pack purchased were donated to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, raising more than $550,000 for hurricane relief.
Abita also takes pride in green brewing. It was the first brewery in North America to install the energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse. The system decreases boiling time and carbon dioxide emissions while improving the brewing process. This new Merlin technology uses 70 percent less energy than traditional brewing methods.
Tours of the brewery are available and begin in the tasting room, where samples of almost every beer Abita offers are available to enjoy. After leaving the tasting room, the first leg of the tour goes through a forest of stainless steel fermentation tanks that tower overhead like giant cypress trees in the swamps.
A trip to the brewhouse follows, where the guide explains the process by which Abita brews its world-class beer. Abita is also adding to its brewery, creating space for an even larger brewhouse and more fermentation tanks.
Tours take place Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 2:00 p.m. On Saturdays, the brewery offers tours at 11:00 a.m., 12 noon, 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. A gift shop is open at the brewery Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Not far from the brewery, the Abita Brew Pub, the location of the brand’s original brewery, is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. This full-service restaurant offers the line of Abita beers and root beer at the tasting bar. Customers can purchase six packs or half-gallon containers to go.
Pride is a common theme in Louisiana, and Abita prides itself on quality, not quantity. Only the freshest ingredients are included in each beer. David Blossman, president of Abita Brewing, takes particular pride in the brewery’s use of local ingredients in beers, such as the Abita Strawberry and Satsuma Harvest Wit.
So while in Louisiana, drink like a local. Check out Abita products anywhere in the Pelican State.
Please Note: This is Part 14 of an on-going series on Louisiana Cuisine/Travel Ideas
Abita Brewing Company, L.L.C.
Address: 21084 Highway 36, Covington, LA 70433
Phone: (985) 898-3546 or (800) 737-2311 (toll free)
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.