I thought it only appropriate to begin the Thirsty Thursday weekly series with Abita Andygator, seeing as how tonight was the first preseason game of the New Orleans Saints' 2010 season.
This used to be my brew of choice circa 2003 - 2004. Every Wednesday & Thursday night, my friends & I would go to either the Bulldog or Balcony Bar on Magazine Street in New Orleans and get pitchers of this beverage. At the time, it was marketed as a barley wine and was claimed to sport an 11% ABV rating on draught. The brew held an elusive mystique since you could only find it at the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs, and a mere handful of other locations around Louisiana. For college students, it also packed a great bang for your buck.
Beginning in the Fall of 2008, Abita decided to expand the beverage's market and begin bottling the brew. In the process of shedding its draught-only status, the recipe seemingly changed, too. In its currently form, it's advertised as a Helles Doppelbock and distributed in 22 oz bottles. The ABV rating has also dropped from 11% to 8%.
The back of the bottle reads:
"The Andygator is a fearsome beast...much too big for any little bottle. Don't let his toothy grin, slightly sweet flavor and subtle fruit aroma fool you: this cold-blooded creature is a Helles Doppelbock that can sneak up on you. Sip, don't gulp and taste the wild of Abita Andygator."
Even in its modern form, I still consider it a delicious brew and try to keep a minimum of two 22 oz bottles in my beer fridge at all times to share with out of town guests. You can find it in the Houston area for between $4 and $6 per bottle. There's also distribution along the Eastern seaboard and throughout CA & OR on the West coast.
Photographs of the bottle enjoyed this evening are illustrated below.