Friday Brew Review – Purple Haze

Purple Haze

First and foremost, allow me to apologize for the tardiness of this post. Although the OL statistics-tracker tells me that most of you read the Friday Brew Review during your Saturday morning (hangover), I usually aim to get this son of a bitch posted by 9PM. I guess my thought process is that people will say, “Hey, what did Pepsibones use to kill brain cells this week?” before going out and choosing a consciousness-stunner of their own. So if a late post has left you clueless as to what to drink (or not drink), and you now find yourself sniffing Elmer’s Glue, using said glue to style your hair and fooling around with your uncle’s synthesizer, I apologize.

Ok, it’s late so let’s just get to this. Tonight I procured a six-pack of the Abita Brewing Company’s Purple Haze. The prospect of a “raspberry wheat brew” ticked my fancy; although I consider myself more of a dark beer/lager fellow, I have recently embarked on a quest to find a lighter beer to satisfy my palette. Inspecting the backside of a bottle, I was informed that the beer “is a crisp, American style wheat beer with a fresh raspberry puree added after filtration.” With such a description added to the obvious Hendrix connotations, I felt good to go.

Pouring the potion into a beer glass, I noticed that the stream of goodness (does that sound filthy?) was of a purple hue. Shit, the label wasn’t lying about the “subtle purple coloration and haze.” The hints of violet are present, but they are far from overpowering; Purple Haze’s light texture makes it translucent, looking more like water than cough syrup. But it’s all good — I don’t need my beer to look like Barney the Dinosaur’s peepee.

What I did have a slight problem with was all of the debris.  Shortly after pouring Purple Haze I noticed that there was a bunch of shit floating around. I’m not talking about the normal goodness that makes a beer hazy, but actual little bits of…well, something. Concerned that I was about to start consuming a fatal product, I visited Abita’s internet-home. With minimal effort, I came across this important notice:

Therefore, you may see raspberry pulp in the beer.

Ok, thank you for telling me. While I’m a fan of raspberries, I’m not a fan of metal shavings and that’s what my overactive imagination was telling me the little bits were. So I appreciate the fact that you’re not trying to kill me, Abita, but I think you should make it more obvious with your packaging that your beverage contains suspended-solids. Hell, Orbitz made its money by bragging about such an accomplishment.

But let’s move onto the more important matters — smell and taste.

Sticking my nose into the open mouth of my beer glass, I detect the aroma of a wheat beer. Yeah, for all of its boasting about being a cold one that features raspberry puree as an  ingredient, Purple Haze smells like a run-of-the-mill wheat beer. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, just not what I was hoping for.

Delivering the buzz-inducer to my tongue, fortunately, was a more pleasurable experience. Despite being quite light, there are a number of flavors dancing about; I definitely taste the traditional aspects of a wheat beer, a sweetness that overshadows any bitterness that may be lurking about the bottom of the bottle. Moreover, there is an appropriate level of citrus flavor, making me think that zest must have been used as a key component of the formula. But alas, I still don’t taste raspberry — to me, it’s just not there.

So where do I stand on Purple Haze? Overall, it’s a good beer. It’s very light, goes down smoothly, has a taste with more than one note and is making me feel funnier and smarter. I am going to call a bit of bullshit on marketing itself as some raspberry wonder-child; it’s tart all right, but not necessarily because of raspberries.

I’ve recently been doing a lot of daydreaming, placing myself somewhere sunny and beautiful, like Boston in late May. I think I’m going to add Purple Haze to this reverie, sipping on it as I  sit in the outside patio of some overpriced but alluring restaurant on Newbury Street.

Purple Haze, you’re all in my brain: B