Abita Save Our Shore: A Charitable Pilsner

I forgot to mention in my last post, but I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather since I visited downtown Chandler’s block party, so any inconsistencies or choppy sentence structures can be blamed on that.  Unfortunately, I think I’ve also had some effect on the boy, as he’s been complaining of chills and a fever, so we’ll see how my posts go this week.  I hate not writing because it has been such a great outlet for me, but I’d rather feel 100% than write crappy reviews, so bear with me.  (Also, sidenote, as I’m trying to write this, my lovely fiance is watching The Sandlot behind me…concentration is at an all-time low right now)

Every time I go to Whole Foods for something, especially when I don’t need to pick up any more beer due to my stocking up the day before, I tend to walk past the massive aisle of beer anyway and mentally pick out a few for when I do need more.  Oddly, when the time comes around to have to physically pick these bottles/cans out and take them home, I never seem to remember which ones I wanted and end up spending a good hour walking back and forth touching different brews like it will make my memory return any faster.  It doesn’t and I usually have to resort to asking the boy to help me.  My point is that I’ve probably been in and out of the alcohol section of Whole Foods at least a hundred times, if not more, and in the last fifty times I’ve passed, I’ve noticed one bottle in particular and just never picked it up for whatever reason.  I figured it was about time, as there were only a few cases left, so I grabbed the Abita Brewing Company SOS Pilsner.

SOS stands for Save Our Shore and the brew is “a message in a bottle.  A distress signal for the troubled waters of our Gulf Coast.”  For every bottle sold, 75¢ goes to the “rescue and restoration of the environment, industry, and individuals fighting to survive this disastrous oil spill.”  On the front of the bottle, the letters “SOS” are spelled out by numerous nautical symbols, from pelicans, alligators, and fish to sailboats, fishing nets, and boots – making it really interesting to look at and pick out the many different things that were affected by the spill (thanks so much BP).  I decided that whether the beer was delicious or not, at least I was helping a good cause, and delved in.

Pouring it from a 22oz bomber, it was a clear honey/goldenrod color with hazy sunny highlights.  It gradually built a 2-finger thick fluffy, pearly white head that slowly, slowly (slowly) fell into a thin blanket of froth that covered the liquid throughout the drink.  It left quilts of foamy lacing sticking to the glass that refused to let go and eventually dried in place.  Immediately upon pouring, there was quite a bit of visible carbonation (as you can see in the photo above), but once the bubbles left the side of the glass, any carbonation became invisible.  Quite a beautiful presentation that led the way to a great drink.

There were early wafts of something very herbal and a light cut-grass sweetness followed by a grainy, honey-malt sweetness.  I wasn’t really expecting anything in particular, but I found the initial sweetness very welcoming after a week’s worth of IPAs and hop-filled brews.  Closely tailing the malts was a faint yeasty lemon juice bitterness and some lightly spicy hops that gave the nose just enough oomph to keep it from being too clean.  All together, the smell was rather simple and none of the aromas overpowered any of the others;  they all complimented each other with hearty high-fives and pats on the backs – it was a nice, friendly melting pot of ingredients.

From the nose, I was eager to see how the taste compared (how am I doing so far?  In The Sandlot, they’re just trying to get the Babe Ruth ball from the Beast with a vacuum cleaner/erector-set), as I’ve found that usually the taste is much more robust than the smell when it comes to hops – granted, not always, so I’m not jumping to conclusions here.  Taking a few sips, I found a spicy bitterness right at the front that was mellowed out by a light cut-grass sweetness that had been rolled with some grainy honey-malt notes.  I was surprised by the strength of the light lemon peel and herbal hops, but pleased when they were quickly smoothed out by a final subtle caramel malt that added some body.  It carried a medium mouthfeel, thanks to the malts, with a fine, airy carbonation, leaving my mouth much dryer than I would have assumed possible.  It wasn’t a disagreeable ending, but I was hoping that the clean aftertaste would keep my mouth watering after I swallowed.  One thing I found interesting was that through the second half of the bottle, I started snacking on some white chocolate macadamia cookies and man, oh, man did they enhance the sweetness of this beer almost three-fold!  I could barely taste the hops by the end and I now know that beer and cookies can accompany each other as long as there are plenty of sweet malts to go around.

I really enjoyed the SOS pilsner both for its overall drinkability and the warming sensation I started to feel after half the bottle (anything with 7% and higher ABV is perfect for getting those blood vessels closer to the surface of my skin), but I was especially happy to be able to support the Gulf restoration with this little act of drinking.  75¢ per bottle is quite a donation from any company – most don’t donate more than 10¢ on average from what I’ve noticed, though I have no data to support this, so don’t ask me for sources – not to mention they also sell shirts, magnets, and baseball caps to further support their cause.  Of all the fantastic reasons to drink beer, this might be one of the most helpful.  So if you get a chance, check at your local store to see if you can find a bottle of Abita’s SOS to help save the Gulf – because we all know it can use as much help as we can afford to give it.  Save the Gulf!

Ok, now I have to go finish watching The Sandlot…it’s on Netflix instant, if you’re interested!

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