Friday, September 26, 2014

062. Abita SOS (Save Our Shores) Pilsner

This is probably the last wheat beer I'll review. I may have mentioned this before, but my face turns beet red when I drink wheat beers. I don't have any other symptoms from it (other than a pleasant buzz if I drink enough), so I don't think I have a wheat allergy. But why push my luck? Now, this is not specifically a WHEAT BEER. It has Wheat Malt, so we'll see if the results are the same.

SOS (Save Our Shores) was a limited edition beer designed to raise money and awareness. From the bottle (and their Website:

"Abita S.O.S.® (Save Our Shore) — a charitable pilsner is a message in a bottle...a distress signal for the troubled waters of our Gulf Coast. For every bottle sold Abita donates 75¢ to the rescue and restoration of the environment, industry and individuals fighting to survive the disastrous gulf oil spill. This unfiltered Weizen Pils is made with pilsner and wheat malts. It is hopped and dry hopped with Sterling and German Perle hops. It has a brilliant gold color, a sweet malt flavor, and a pleasant bitterness and aroma."
First Pour
So, let's start by admitting that I don't know how old this beer is. It's been in my refrigerator, chilled, for what seems like forever. It's one of those beers that I kept putting off -- I'll review it next week. Or the next. Or the next... It's a big bottle (1 pt 6 oz) and, since I probably paid about $5 - $10 for it, I feel obligated to give it a proper review. So, it's been sitting there forever, just waiting for me to grab it and add culmination to its existence.

Well, tonight -- on a whim -- I decided it was time. I grabbed it out of the door of the fridge and gave it a pour.

My first thought was that it smells like a pilsner. Kind of aromatic, nothing strong or off-putting. I detect hints of grass (reminds me of Saint Arnold's Lawnmower -- which, for me, is not a great thing). Definitely no citrus or spice notes.

The head was disappointing -- I had to practically slap it around to get a rise out of it. But, considering that it's probably 1-2 years old, that's not surprising and I won't hold that against it. Lace was respectable, once I got it to a head.

The flavor was okay on its own, although a bit grassy and bitter for my taste. Not bad, but not remarkable. There were elements of grassy mountain hops, a pleasant but-definitely-in-the-background presence of malt. As I let it warm from 40 to 55 degrees, the aromatics became stronger, but that didn't really affect my enjoyment one way or the other. However, as I drank more I also became more aware of its alcohol content (at 7%, it's not too shabby). This also revealed an alcohol taste that grew stronger the more I drank.

Then the pizza arrived.

I had a supreme with jalapenos -- and suddenly the beer came alive. Pared with this classic chow of Friday nights, the beer really stepped forward in my estimation. The bitterness played remarkably well off the spicy ingredients in my pizza, and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit.

Closing Thoughts
Okay but not remarkable pilsner. I suspect many people who like IPAs will really appreciate the bitterness in this bottle. It's not too strong, but it is there. Pared with pizza, though, it was a rare treat. I really enjoyed it.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:
Type: Pilsner
Color: Hazy Gold
Aroma: Grass and hay
Hops: Bitter and strong, but not IPA strong
Malt: Present, but definitely dancing in the background
Head: Not sure -- 2 fingers with aggressive pour, but that could be related to the age of the beer
Lace: Respectable at first, but fades as the glass goes dry
Bitterness: Bitter
Carbonation: Medium, but dissipates quickly (see note above)
Mouthfeel:  A little dry for my taste, but okay
Temeprature Sweet Spot: 45-55 degrees
ABV: 7%
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Paired with Pizza: 8 out of 10

Other Reviews Worth A Sip:
A lot of guys at liked this, but they detected a hint of orange that was completely missing from my experience.