Hey there! Long time, no blog. The holidays and the day job kept me busy, and I haven’t written anything in a while. Hope to turn that around soon.
At the end of 2015, Abita Brewing launched their foray into the hard root beer world with Bayou Bootlegger. They sent me a six pack of it to sample, so here are my thoughts.
If you’ll remember, I did a comparison of Not Your Father’s Root Beer and Coney Island Hard Root Beer back in the fall. I really haven’t had any since then, even though there’s some NYFRB in my fridge. It’s just too sweet for me. Let’s see if Abita’s version is more to my liking, shall we?
Here’s what Abita says about Bayou Bootlegger:
Bayou Bootlegger is a decidedly adult take on the old-fashioned soda fountain root beers of days gone by. Gluten-free and sweetened with pure Louisiana cane sugar, this handcrafted beer delivers aromas of wintergreen, vanilla and sassafras, with hints of clove and anise. Enjoy its smooth, complex and satisfyingly sweet flavor as your go-to thirst quencher or paired with your favorite meal.
Its namesake is inspired by New Orleans’ original bayou bootlegger, Jean Lafitte, the early-19th century French pirate and smuggler who took up arms in defense of New Orleans during the War of 1812. As the packaging says, these sodas “are brewed with the swagger and rebellious spirit of our most famous pirate.”
When poured, it looks like root beer, minus the fizz you get from Barq’s. The aroma? Well, the aroma was downright awful. It was disgusting. It smelled like rubber. Maybe it’s named Bayou Bootlegger because it was fermented in rain boots. It was so off putting that it didn’t matter that the taste was fine. But since aroma and flavor are so interconnected, I couldn’t get past the aroma.
I don’t know if this was a bad batch, but I couldn’t finish the first bottle and got the same thing from the second bottle. I ended up dumping the remaining 4 bottles, because there was no way I was going to drink them. Sorry Abita, thanks for the root beer, but this one needs to be fixed. I can recognize the difference between a beer that’s not my style and one that’s got technical flaws, and this one is flawed. It smells terrible.
So don’t bother. Ugh.