Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tonight's beer is from semi-local, and near to my hear brewery Abita from Louisiana. As I've said before along with Texas's Shiner, Abita as my go to beer in college as it was one of the few non BMC products available to me. Plus I always liked that they said the water used in brewing was from Abita Springs...hey as hokey as it might sound beer brewed from spring water was a good hook line for a college kid. This particular beer Andygator, is part of Abita's expanded line into Texas which now includes their big bottle series of which this is one of them. I have actually had this one, on draft on Bourbon St., a few years back so I was eager to try it again when I could actually focus on the beer. However before I get to the beer, let me digress into discussing the style this beer represents. As the brewery states this is a Helles Dopplebock an interesting combination of styles. Let's discuss each one separately before putting them together. First off Helles, as the Beer Judge Certification Program Guidelines tells us, Helles, or Munich helles is usually a low IBU, low alcohol, pale golden lager. Primary scents include cereal grains, and pale malt flavors. The beer was first brewed back in 1894 in Munich (hence the name) as an answer to the influx of Czech Pilsners. However unlike Czech Pilsners that had more of a hoppy note, these beers were maltier with a bready flavor. Now onto the second part of this beer, Dopplebock. Again the BJCP Guidelines let us know to expect a strong malty flavor with virtually no hop flavor, usually deep gold to brown in color, with rich malty, maybe chocolately flavors and a full body. Dopplebocks were traditionally brewed in Germany by monks to be drunk during Advent and Lent, when people were fasting and needed nourishment from the beer they drank instead of the food they weren't eating. The first Dopplebock was released in the 1700's and most traditionally have had the suffix -ator (think the traditional Celebrator, Optimator, or the original Salvator from Paulaner). All of these are deep rich, hearty brews of high alcohol and dark in color.
At first glance it seems that these two styles the golden pale lager Helles, and the rich deep brown Dopplebock are contradictory. How did Abita combine these two?
The Beer: This one weighs in at 8%, more like a Dopplebock than a Helles, but it pours a golden orangish yellow which is more like a helles. The IBU's are low at 25 which is par for both styles. The head is white, and thick, and frothy. The nose is of cereal grains, pale malts a slight bit of hops on the nose, snappy, floral. The mouthfeel is chewy, creamy. Notes of pale toasted malts, sweet honey and just a bit of alcohol. Not a lot of effervescent, bready, even biscuity flavors, but strong and sip worthy, much stronger than you think. A very tasty brew with a lot of bready type flavors. Like bready with honey butter. A very nice unique style of beer. This one gets a B from me. Here's waht the folks at BA had to say.