Abita Andy Gator

September 8, 2008

11% ABV on draught, so say the waitress though no place confirms this number

I lived high on the non-kosher hog this summer, abusing my mind and body on the weekends with villainous al-kee-hawl. I’m not a 19-year-old year old any more, that fact has become abundantly clear. Why is there no modern-day Carry Nation around to swing an ax at my pint glass to prevent me from imbibing?

Thus, I thought I’d make the first weekend after Labor Day into a teetotaler’s delight. Thought it might be fun to see what would happen to me after a weekend of sipping on ginger ales and Yoo-Hoo. How razor-sharp would my mind become? How much energy would I have? How taut of spectacle would my belly morph into? How easy would it be to pick up women?!

Ah fuck it, I’d popped my first brew by Friday at 8 PM.

After making my friends and I personas non grata at the inglorious Press Box last week, we had to find a new locale to watch college football on Saturday. Enter Mara’s Homemade, a Cajun juke joint owned by some real-life Looooo-see-anna natives, a husband and wife team whose alumni roots cause them to root for both LSU and OU and likewise have all their games on their sole flatscreen.

God must have been mad at all the sodomites, homosexuals, Jews, and/or sinners in New York, because he allowed his great flood waters to stretch up north our way over the weekend. By the time I’d sauntered into Mara’s at the 3:00 hour, my jeans were wet up to my knees like I’d been noodling for catfish all morning. Shoulda wore some capri pants. Those effete Euros sure know where it’s at.

After tripping the lights (and tipping the bottles) fantastic on Friday night, I truly did not want to drink on Saturday afternoon. But the sweet lady that owns Mara’s so convincingly convinced me that I had to. “You want a Hurricane, don’tcha, hon?” is what she said the second I slopped into the restaurant, my Nike Shox squirking like leaky galoshes. And though she asked a question and said it ever-so-sweetly with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes, I’ve never so much felt the peer pressure to order some booze. And let it be said, this lady was at least three decades from being my peer.

The Hurricane was exquisite and potent. I don’t know if the women intentionally hooked my sexy ass up or if Mara’s Hurricanes are just always so rummy. A part of me thinks it the latter. My career record with Hurricanes is a bad one as they have always lead to me doing something foolish and waking up the next morning in a pile of garbage, my first encounters with this devilish concoction dating back to New Year’s 2001 on Bourbon Street when I was only 21 and was drinking 64 ouncers at an unholy pace. I only had one of Mara’s though, so the aforementioned would not lead to the lattermentioned. It was a bit syrupy, as all Hurricanes are, and a second was simply not in the tarot cards.

I chilled for a bit then, munching on Mara’s food. It’s solid, good, if not a bit overpriced and non-plentiful. I will still hail the Delta Grill as the finest Cajun restaurant in Manhattan. But Mara’s is worthy and certainly worth visiting if you find yourself in the East Village. A quaint little place with just the absolute nicest people running it. However, I would highly suggest they offer some gameday deals and knock a buck or two off their across-the-board $7 (!) pints if they want more customers.

Look, you wanna know how to run a bar, Mara’s, get me to drink number four. That’s all you gots to do. Because if I order a fifth drink then I am hunkering down for the entire night. So charge me $5 for a pitcher of beer and then you can charge me $5 for beer #5, $6 for beer #6, and by beer numbers 10plus, I’ll probably give my ruined liver to have just a taste.

Mara’s has the full line of Abita brews, pretty much every major pop that overrated brewery makes on either tap or bottle, shipped north to NYC at a bit of premium from what I understand. Our oddly sexy, shorts-jumper-wearing waitress–the daughter of the owners perhaps–suggested Abita’s barleywine Andy Gator. From my steel trap memory I knew that beer got horrendous reviews online, but I love barleywines so I had to try it.

A few minutes later, a pint that was a watered-down pale golden color like a Miller Lite was set in front of me. “I ordered the barleywine actually,” I said, thinking a barleywine should be a ruby red/amber/dark purple color even.

“Oh, that’s the barleywine, hon.”


I smelled it. No odor whatsoever. What barleywine has no smell? Stuff like Old Guardian or Fred is so potent in smell that its fumes are almost enough to get you loaded. Not so with Andy Gator.

The taste was even worse. Honestly, even from taste I could not identify it as a barleywine. It tasted…terrible. I had my friend call up the Beer Advocate reviews of Andy Gator because I was absolutely certain something was wrong. The tap lines had been crossed. Nope. Indeed Andy Gator is considered a barleywine and indeed it pours a light golden color.

I tasted absolutely no hops it in. Heck, I tasted absolutely nothing good it in. Very little flavors. Just harsh, bad alcohol. Tastes almost like a malt liquor. And a cheap one at that. Not Colt 45, more like Bum’s Bathwater fortified wine or something. A terrible beer. I could barely finish it.

The worst was the sweet old lady came by to ask my thoughts on her beloved Abita. I wish I could have said, “Wait for my review on theviceblog dot com on Monday!” but I couldn’t hide the obvious disgust on my face.

At the least, I can confirm that it may indeed be 11% percent because even after a day of stuffing my face with some crawfishy app (solid), fried okra (eh) and a catfish/oysters po’ boy (delish), I was kinda wobbly as I headed back into the Manhattan monsoon.

Abita, if you can’t compete with the big boys, don’t attempt something as ambitious as a barleywine. You’ve made the worst one I’ve ever had by an order of magnitude. And if I was the “Andy” this beer was named after, the gloves would be off.