Welcome to the “craft side of Mardi Gras”, where homemade food is offered up with homemade ingredients, passionate cooks, and the true essence of New Orleans. But, of course, no good meal – ESPECIALLY not a Mardi Gras Meal – can be complete without a fine beverage to wash it all down. I am pleased to present Abita’s Grapefruit Harvest IPA.
Just like New Orleans, the jambalaya wows you with bold flavors to wake up your palate. Powerful, yet balanced heat highlights tender chicken, spicy andouille, perfectly cooked rice (not an easy task!) and a confetti of the Holy Trinity (green pepper, onion, and celery). The end result is amazing – and easily one of huge tastiest meals I’ve ever shoveled in my mouth.
Truth be told, I was worried about pairing an IPA with such bold flavors – especially citrus forward brew, as is Abita’s Grapefruit Harvest IPA. Typically I prefer an Amber, or even a dry Kolsch – but in this case, I am so happy to be wrong.
Brewed approximately 30 miles north of New Orleans, in Abita Springs, Louisiana – Abita Brewing Company is one of the larger breweries in the country, responsible for the ever so dangerous Purple Haze. This modest group has one of the strongest hearts, continuing philanthropic efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The company also strives to work with local ingredients, using all Louisiana harvested grapefruits to craft their Grapefruit Harvest IPA. Along with Cascade Hops (high acidic) along side a heavy-handed dose of Pale, Pilsner, and Caramel malts.
The result? A bold, flavorful IPA that’s full-bodied, luscious brew that’s refreshingly real and easy to pair with dinner (did I mention that LFK’s jambalaya is a perfect match?), but won’t weigh you down – leaving lots of time to enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities.
The Harvest Grapefruit Ale’s aroma is deceiving, as it replicates grapefruit juice so much so that you may not remember your about to enjoy an IPA. A rich, amber color is attributed to the malt diversity and balance, and being unfiltered brings a cloudy appearance to the finished product.
Surprisingly, the IPA is incredibly full and satisfying. You shouldn’t expect the grapefruit and citrus flavors to be overwhelming, as a balanced recipe crafted a beer that is incredibly balanced, smooth and refreshing. Much like Its home town, the brew is zesty and full of character.
On the finish, the ending notes re-introduce the grapefruit flavors alongside a bready, caramel note. Taking a few notes from its Souther Heritage, be ready for a bit of tang and tartness.
Full of character, and ready for anything, Abita’s Grapefruit Harvest IPA is the perfect choice to enjoy throughout our festivities – and with its bright, citrus profile – is perfect to drink throughout the day.
So grab a few 6 packs, some jambalaya, some beads, and boogie down. It is Mardi Gras by the way!
P.S. Have some left over the following morning? Cure that hangover and pair that leftover andouille with a 75/25 blend of Grapefruit Harvest IPA to freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. The perfect hair of the dog.
Guest Post by RP at Travel By Beer