One of my last outings for William Grant & Sons lead me to a little outpost in DC called "Policy". A happening and fun location on 14th Street in DC. After completing my gig I sat by a table near the bar in their downstairs floor. Here I was overlooking the bar menu, seeing what creative libations other bartenders are coming up with. While doing so, over at the bar was a trio, two gentlemen and this one lady who kept saying "And it doesn't matter how many she's had before, she always exclaimed and went for a cheers FIRST ONE TODAY".
Now, this may not mean anything to a lot of you, but when I tended bar at Food Matters there was this lady who sat center stage every night and whenever she had a drink (Wine: red & wet or an occasional sparkling wine) she would turn to her friends and anybody crossing her path and would shout "First one today!" in her purest Bostontonian accent. So I interrupted these folks and explained to them that I never impose on anyone's personal conversations but I knew of a lady that did the same thing. The girl stood there in shock and then said "Oh my gosh! That's crazy! Is she from Ireland?" I looked at her and said, "No, Boston". This lead to in depth with her associates. Turned out I was speaking to a regional rep for Abita, a Louisiana based brewery named John and his newest hiree a guy straight from New Orleans named Chris. They offered me a drink and since I was already waiting, and have issues turning down a boozey offering, accepted and John hands me a Purple Haze. He asks me if I was familiar with Abita and the Purple Haze. This triggered flashbacks to many a Turbo Dog I respond "Of course, anyone who knows any better has had Abita in their fridge at some point or another!" he in turn hands me his card and tells me "You'd be surprised".
I was first introduced to Abita a couple years ago while tending bar at Food Matters. We featured a few of their drinks for a season, one of which was their Purple Haze Raspberry Wheat Beer. An American style wheat beer that adds raspberry puree to it's small batch brewing process after filtration. The final product is a Summer favorite in my humble opinion.
What the Purple Haze brew does offer, is clean, crisp seasonable beer with a definitive subtlety. This thing tastes like raspberries without being sweet or off balanced. There is a great acidity backed by soft yeasty bread like notes entangled in a fruit basket of apples, bananas, oranges, lemons and of course, raspberries. The choice of creating a lager style beer with a fresh berry puree using a great water source is brilliant in it's cleanliness.
You hear the words "raspberry" and "beer" as a selling point and you worry that there may be something there to make the drink too sweet, too rich or too intense to enjoy more than one of. I promise you this, it's delicate and it's inviting. It's a beer that is begging for your outdoor space. It wants to be consumed with grilled chickens, light salads or spicy sea foods. It's open minded though and it will completely enjoy itself with you plus a couple of your friends.
Thank you Giovanni for hooking me up with the samples. You were always a sweetheart and you always came through with the extra treats. Peace and love to you and your family - I wish you nothing but the best!