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Abita

Abita! Louisiana Root Beer

Abita reminds me of a completely different century. If I had to suggest a time frame that Abita’s design sourced from, it would certainly be the early 1800s, and maybe even the late 1700s. I think this has a lot to do with the Fleur De Lis emblem, as well as the ribbon like label. Abita comes straight from Louisiana, so this makes sense given the relation with France. Then again all of those initial impressions are really a matter of taste. Speaking of, for a few reasons that will become somewhat clear in this review, I am really hoping for a high ranking here because my cursory glances so far have left me impressed.

Abita Springs Louisiana Cane Sugar

Unlike most brews, Abita uses a pry-off cap. Combined with the stout dark bottle, there’s certainly a unique look here. The design and texture of the label reminds me of paper or linen, rather than typical plastic, and a lot of that has to do with the printing detail. Combined with the colors and design, it looks very official. It definitely doesn’t conjure a traditional expectation from me. Given that this brew seems to be joined tightly with Louisiana, it certainly makes me think of plantation agriculture.

Background

Abita Brewing Company was actually founded in 1986, so I guess my initial feelings related to a distant century were actually mistaken. Anyway, Abita primarily brews alcoholic beer, but they have three non-alcoholic drinks, root beer, vanilla cream soda, and king cake soda. I had to do a little bit of research on king cake, since I had never heard of it before, and if you have the time, check out the wikipedia page too; it’s an interesting read! Interestingly, and something I’m glad to hear, Abita Brewing Company is locally owned in Abita Springs, Louisiana, and privately owned by local shareholders. A big portion of Abita’s website is a proud display of their community action and giving back to the locality. I’m in favor of companies taking a responsible approach, and I hope Abita continues to do so. In a way, this root beer already reminds me of Virgil’s or Bundaberg.

Ingredients

  • Water
  • Cane Sugar
  • Root Beer Flavor
  • Caramel Color
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Phosphoric Acid

Root beer flavor is an interesting ingredient, again, but honestly? I’ll take it. I’m so sick of natural and artificial flavor language, that actually telling me that it’s some kind of specific root beer flavor is better than the alternative. I would prefer knowing exactly what’s in there, and I continually think that individual ingredients wouldn’t betray a confidential recipe, but what Abita is doing here is better than most. Check out my Blue Sky review on that.

Tasting

Usually I screw the top off of most of the brews I review, but I was actually surprised by the pop-off cap. I really like screw cap, because there have been times where I’ve knocked over a brew and I was saved momentarily by the screw cap. That’s innovation at work!

That first smell is always a bit strong on my nostrils, but Abita is somewhat subtle, and reminds me of a really traditional root beer essence. I think the flavor mimics the smell almost identically, and that is usually a good sign.

On first taste, I am so glad to be surprised that my initial reaction is a positive one, and that I might actually like this root beer. I honestly have a little trouble stopping, and I think that is always a great example of a delicious root beer.

Abita is incredibly sweet, possibly a little too sweet, but given that it’s so easy to down, is certainly not sickly. It’s honestly hard for me to break down the flavors, because it’s so overwhelmingly traditional root beer flavor. It’s definitely not weak, but at the same time, it’s not overwhelming in any one category. It’s a mellow experience.

A fan of the blog recently spoke to me and mentioned those little root beer barrel candies, and honestly, Abita evokes that imagery in my mind. In a lot of ways, Abita reminds me of Polar, and since Polar is so hard to find in a bottle, maybe Abita will become a mainstay for me.

The carbonation is light, airy, and dissipates quickly. One could say that the smaller bubbles tend to dance on one’s tongue. As I’ve said before, this is my preferred style and I have to say, it certainly helps with flavor profile.

Over time, the root beer flavoring stays pretty consistent. The carbonation certainly dissipates, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I tend to dislike high carbonation. There’s little after taste, but what is there is pleasant and refreshing. Despite being very sweet, it doesn’t stick around that much, which I give credit to the Louisiana cane sugar being used. I really enjoy that it isn’t bitter in the slightest.

Conclusion

Abita is a very good, traditional tasting root beer that, while on the sweet side, doesn’t take it too far. It’s easily drinkable, and the stout bottle has wonderful feel. For those of you, like me, who enjoy strong flavors without the bitterness, and light carbonation, Abita is a solid choice. Usually I don’t go out of my way to revisit root beers that I’ve reviewed, but if I come across Abita, I will certainly try it again. Given that there’s only a bit a root beer left in the bottle at the end of this review, I would strongly recommend this brew.

Rating: ♛♛♛♛♕ – 4/5

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