beer snob

by Jeffery Gredlein

Purple Haze, all in my brain | A wheat with a touch of sweet

New Orleans is probably not the place you want to be at the end of July. And, as the Triad shares some similarities with the Big Easy, including Southern charm and summer swelter, this week’s brew is a Louisiana beer that should help quench your Carolina thirst. Abita brewery, located just north of New Orleans, has been making quality beer for over 20 years and boasts “batches handcrafted using the Jeffrey pristine artesian waters of Abita Springs, Louisiana.” Abita offers a stable Gredlein of beer, from the ever popular dark Turbodog to a decent amber lager, to seasonal brews like Bock, Fall Fest and Christmas Ale. They have recently introduced “Big Beers,” a series of high gravity brews — I presently have an Andygator Helles Dopplebock resting in my fridge. Abita’s most recognizable and popular beer is their wheat beer, Purple Haze. What makes this American-style wheat different from most is the addition of raspberry puree to the mix after fermentation. In which case, Purple Haze actually falls under the category of flavored or fruit beer. Now please do not shudder at the thought of fruity addition, at least before the bottle is ever filled, much less opened. And do not compare this beer with the dreadful malternatives out there, such as those made by Mike’s, Smirnoff, or even the passable varieties of cider. Purple Haze’s raspberry taste is far from overwhelming, and actually adds a pleasant character to the beer. In the glass, Purple Haze gives a cloudy orange color with a pink/purple highlight, a thin head of white bubbles do not stay around for very long. As if I had to mention the main aromas this beer emits, they are tangy raspberry and wheat. The taste is also wheaty, very crisp in the front of the mouth, with a hint of raspberry in the back. There exists almost no hop taste, although there is a bit of sour flavor in the finish.

This beer is slightly fizzy, and does not offer much in the way of mouthfeel. Purple Haze is a bright beer with very light carbonation, and the hint of raspberry keeps it interesting and appealing. A decent fruit beer, even the novice will enjoy this one. This is refreshing on a hot day, but I personally feel this one can get a tad too sweet after several pints. I recall seeing pint after pint of this served to guys and gals all night at the former Wild Magnolia Café, definitely a Cajun favorite. Abita Brewing Company will be pouring beers, including Purple Haze, at the Summertime Brews Festival, here in town at the Greensboro Coliseum special events center on

Aug. 15. Get your tickets now before they sell out. Enjoy the brews.



Beer: Purple Haze

Style: Fruit Beer

Brewery: Abita Brewing Co.

Origin: Abita springs, la.

ABV: 4.2 percent

Pairing: salads, egg dishes, brunch