Ask a dozen people in New Orleans about the best po’ boy in town, you’ll receive a dozen responses. But shift the question to the best spring beer and a consensus quickly springs up—Abita’s Strawberry Harvest Lager.
Right around the time when Mardi Gras begins (say early February), this seasonal from Abita’s Harvest lineup can be seen everywhere from parades to crawfish boils to the darkest corners of Bourbon Street. That last appearance is a noteworthy one—when something on tap comes in “Half-Ass” to “Huge-Ass” cups that can reach 70 ounces, the beer better be exceptionally drinkable.
Luckily, Abita Strawberry is just that. This lager is brewed with Pilsner and wheat malts with real Louisiana strawberries added later in the process. That means Strawberry Harvest Lager is neither a straight lager/pilsner (infinitely drinkable, possibly boring) nor a straight fruit-based seasonal (sometimes drinkable, rarely boring). It occupies a similar space as previous Paste-reviewed brews such as the coconut-boasting Koko Brown Ale from Kona Brewing. The fruit here is not hidden, but it’s not the dominant, lone flavor either.
The first sip delivers a pleasant nose of strawberry with a nice bittersweet blend of lager and fruit on the taste buds. Abita recommends using a snifter and not necessarily that plastic Half-Ass beer cup to enhance the strawberry nose. That pleasant strawberry/lager bite duality carries through to the end of the beer, making you instinctively reach for another. Luckily Abita Strawberry is most often found in sessionable glass bottle six-packs out in the wild. The low ABV (4.2%) plus the light and flavorful taste means your favorite Abita Strawberry will be your second. Or third. Just ask a New Orleanian.
City: Abita Springs, LA
Style: Lager—brewed with Pilsner and wheat malts; real Louisiana strawberry juice added after filtration
Availability: Spring seasonal