Sitting at my computer, I am sipping a very nice, slightly citrusy and piney, India Pale Ale. An excellent, hop-forward, light-bodied beer with undertones of "West Coast" on the palate. And it's not from Stone or Lagunitas... but right here in Louisiana. This is Abita's newest release, Spring IPA, and it's a good one.
But this isn't just a tasty beverage, it's a step forward for the brewing scene in this state. It shows that Abita has noticed the movement all around... the rise of other local breweries, such as Bayou Teche and Parish, and especially NOLA Brewing right down the street here in New Orleans. For too long, the giant (14th largest craft brewery in the country) in Abita Springs seems to have concentrated on expansion and not innovation. They have dominated the market so completely that there was no need. Now, I can't say that they feel threatened or pressured by the newcomers. But perhaps they are just a bit inspired by the competition? Whatever the case, I'm encouraged by the moves I'm seeing up there.
So what does this mean for us? Well, at the moment, it means I get to drink this delicious Spring IPA for the next 3 months or so. And hopefully, for the long term, it means we'll be seeing more quality brews, not just from the new guys, but from the old guard at Abita as well. Either way, I'll be happy to raise a glass of fresh, local beer with my friends. Especially if they're paying.
Here's to your buying me a fine glass of brew in the near future. I'm sure we can all drink to that, right?