Jun 19, 201309:36 AM
Nola Newbie

Dispatches from a New Orleans Newcomer

Bonding with Abita in the Midwest

Abita spotted in a Missouri cooler.

This past weekend my boyfriend, Chris, and I went to Missouri to visit my family for my dad's birthday and Father's Day, which often fall on the same weekend. I have also been a little homesick recently so it was nice to have a quick trip home to see my family.

 

There are certain parts of Missouri and the Midwest that I miss, and a lot of it falls under the food and drink category. Yes, New Orleans has a world-famous food scene and I have really enjoyed it, but there are parts of the Midwest culinary experience I was excited to reunite with. The Midwest is home to frozen custard, delicious barbecue and my favorite breakfast place in the world, Ernie's.

 

And then there's the beer scene. My parents live in Columbia, Mo. – where my family moved when I was 11 – and it's home to two great breweries, Flat Branch Pub & Brewing and Broadway Brewery. Missouri as a state is also known as a beer hub, with Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City and Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis.

 

My brother, Tyler, came into town for the weekend, too, so Chris and I joined Tyler for a drink at Broadway Brewery on Sunday night. We sat at the bar and perused the beer menu as the bartender told us about all the beers they had made on-site and what we should try. We ordered pints of the brewery's beer, but then a bottle of beer caught my eye. When I turned my glance towards the cooler behind the bar, I saw it: Abita Purple Haze.

 

“Chris, look!” I said. “Abita!!”

 

Why was a Louisiana beer in a Missouri brewery? Chris and I called the bartender over and asked him about it. “You have Abita!” we exclaimed. He seemed to be a little weirded out by our excitement, so we explained why we were so happy. “We used to live here, but then we moved to New Orleans,” we told him. “We drink Abita all the time!”

 

He seemed moderately interested, so we asked him if it's been selling well. “Ommm, well, not really,” he said. He added that he recommends the beer to customers – “mostly women” – who are looking for something less hoppy than what the brewery makes.

 

We told him about our love for Abita Amber and Abita Strawberry and recommended that he get some Abita Amber because that's what everyone in New Orleans drinks. He humored us, but obviously we are not beer aficionados and he clearly knew a lot more about beer than we did.

 

I was still really happy to see Abita in that Missouri cooler. While I was glad to be home in the Midwest, I was happy to see something from my new home of Louisiana.

 

It was almost like a symbol of my new life. Sometimes I feel a little out of place in New Orleans. While I've lived here for almost a year, I still don't feel like a true local, though I am getting there. Just like the Abita beer that stuck out in the cooler, there's some adjustment to getting used to a new home. Abita seems to be trying out a new place (my mom said she saw people handing out Abita koozies in a Missouri grocery store recently) so Abita is clearly trying to get some fans in the Midwest market. I hope the Midwest expansion goes well because just like New Orleanians, Midwesterners really like supporting local businesses, especially beer. However, I hope Midwesternerners give Abita a chance, just like I'm giving New Orleans a chance. While it's nice to enjoy the familiarities of home, sometimes it's nice to try something out of your comfort zone, whether it's a whole new city or just a bottle of beer.

 

So cheers to Abita in Missouri! While I still miss the Midwest, it's nice to know pieces of my new home are coexisiting with the old.  

Reader Comments:
Jun 20, 2013 10:05 am
 Posted by  tim

Haley, I know exactly how you feel about finding something authentic from home when you are a long way away. Friends insisted on showing me a new bar, Hard Water, on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Lots of Louisiana stuff, which I never seek out when traveling, and lots of bourbons. Lots. But there in the middle of it all were four flavors of Abita. I ordered an Amber and became a very happy visitor.Tim

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Nola Newbie

Dispatches from a New Orleans Newcomer

about

Haley AdamsHaley Adams has lived in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Missouri, Indiana and France, but she now calls Louisiana home. After graduating from Indiana University in December 2010, Haley moved back to her home, Columbia, Mo., to work for Inside Columbia magazine and mooch off her parents. After a year and a half at the small city magazine, Haley moved to the South to be the web editor at Renaissance Publishing in August 2012.

In addition to managing MyNewOrleans.com and Renaissance Publishing's social media, Haley is the editor of New Orleans Bride, as well as an associate editor for Renaissance Publishing's other publications.

When Haley is not at the office, she is probably trying a new restaurant, looking for places to shop or exploring the South with her boyfriend, Chris, and their dog, Leila. You can reach Haley at (504) 830-7259 or haley@myneworleans.com.

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