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Nerds With Beer: Ybor City and the Curse of the Golden Fraggle

by on Sep.28, 2007, under Articles, Nerds With Beer

Written by Kat, syndicated Nerds With Beer Writer

Purple Haze

It has come to pass, (much to my surprise for it’s not like I haven’t been trying new beers or anything) that two months have gone by without a new review. Oh for shame! I shall attempt not to let such a travesty occur again.
At any rate, last night I found myself in the presence of greatness… and not such greatness. I had decided to make a trip over to Tampa because for some crraazzzyyy reason I wanted to drive for 4 hours. Call it the urge to contemplate perhaps. Call it the urge to visit a relatively new-to-me city and taste some beers from their bars. Call it boredom. Call it what you will. Call me call me when you need a frie-… ok I will stop.

First we shall start with the not-so-greatness which, incidentally, was the beer. I started and ended the night at a place called Crowbar (funny fact, one of the band flyers on the window has misspelled it “Cowbar”…heh). They have about 5 different beers on tap: an oatmeal stout, a tasty looking wheat beer that was empty, a pale ale, some sort of creepy looking lager, and the one I ended up choosing, Abita’s Purple Haze. Now I had previously had Purple Haze, or at least a taste of it, 6 or 7 years ago in Ohio before I even knew what beer was. I remembered it being not very offensive and, given the selection I was presented with at the bar (damn them for being out of the wheat beer!), I figured it was my best bet.

Alas!, Monsieur Bartenderre handed me my pint with it’s 1/2 inch of head still settling and I did what any good beer taster would do- I sniffed it. The aroma was much like a fermented apple juice and I thought to myself, “hmm, promising!”. I sniffed it a couple more times to allow the scent to fully evade my senses and then at last, a sip. I rolled it around on my tongue a bit, trying to catch all the subtle flavors that were promised in the aroma. I managed to grasp a bit of orange and a bit of the apple but they were overpowered by the hops taste. Suddenly an idea struck me! An orange. Yes, an orange wedge would compliment this perfectly. So I wandered back into the main part of the bar in search of fruity goodness. And… I was disappointed. They had the standard lemon and lime but were all out of the one fruit wedge I knew would compliment the beer perfectly.

I went back to my seat located near the stage and finished the rest of this so called “Purple Haze”. There was nothing quite purple about it and the only haze around was the smoke from the bar. I felt Jimmy Hendrix would have been greatly disappointed. So I continued to sip. And sip. The band was doing sound check and kept saying “fraggle”. I got confused for a brief moment before I realized that the sound guys name was Fraggle. That made me smile a bit and then I imaged all sorts of Fraggles running around the rim of my glass, singing to me a lovely Fraggle diddy and having the Dozers bring me an orange wedge. Suddenly the beer was not bad but tolerable. AND THEN…

Abita Logo

The music started! Which is where the nerdy greatness comes in. The band playing at Crowbar that night happened to be Kelp, an eclectic freestyle jazz band. I knew the night looked promising for music when they were sound checking a cello and a clarinet. I was by far not disappointed. The music came in waves and surprises, reminiscent of the The Bad Plus (another freestyle jazz band. Incidentally, freestyle jazz is one of my favorite musical genres). The vocals were a little off and loud but for those of us that also like really terrible-amazing music like Bright Eyes, they were perfect.

So I have concluded this: If you have a chance to see Kelp, DO IT! And let me know when and where the show is at. And if you have a chance to drink Purple Haze…er… probably don’t. Unless you like lighter beers that pretend to be fruity and all the normal standbys aren’t available… then go right ahead. Tonight I shall be catching some sort of hardcore show and then going to New World Brewery to hopefully find something tasty. At the very least I know they have Hoegaarden in bottles. If there is an orange wedge involved I will be doubly happy.

Ta-ta.

Addendum: So what I find absolutely amusing is, after doing some research post writing this article, apparently Purple Haze is a raspberry wheat beer. According to Abita’s website (http://www.abita.com) they add raspberry puree after filtration. My guess is that since the raspberries aren’t necessarily part of the brewing process, the taste doesn’t transfer well to tap, which is how I totally missed any semblance of raspberry. Thus concluding that if one is going to go out and try Purple Haze for themselves, try it out of the bottle. And if you happen to find Abita’s Rootbeer anywhere, try that because it’s delicious and send me some. I haven’t been able to find it since I was in Austin.

1 comment for this entry:
  1. Tim

    The only beer I enjoy with fruit is Blue Moon (with a slice of orange). Other than that…I’ve not found a beer that I enjoy with fruit (and this included Corona…blah).

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