beers tend to work best as light, sessionable offerings. With the
exception of Belgian-style lambics and sours, you don’t tend to see big
8% ABV fruit beers like Abita Strawgator. This beer basically is a
generic fruity summertime beer but with double the body. It doesn’t
really work, though, as the strawberry flavor and base brew flavor seem
to be fighting for my palate’s attention and neither emerges victorious.
I poured a 22oz bottle into a lager glass. It had a best before date 2/18/15 and was given to me by a friend (thanks, Robin!).
Appearance: Mostly clear golden color with carbonation visible. Pours to
a fairly large, white, frothy head which laces and retains very well.
Smell: Potent, but seemingly faux, strawberry aroma. A noticeable lager smell, too.
Taste: There’s a difference between a beer tasting like a fruit and
having a fruit flavor (one’s authentic, one is not). Abita Strawgator is
an example of the latter as it has a taste akin to ice cream or a
milkshake or some kind of candy. It’s a light sweetness throughout the
first half, though there’s a considerable amount of genuine pale lager
character here as well. I detect pale graininess. Through the middle,
the strawberry taste becomes quite pronounced; it’s a fine taste but
nothing amazing. It’s on the finish that everything falls apart as a
sharp, dry bitterness and metallic tang show up out of nowhere and are
extremely distracting and annoying. It’s easy to tolerate, but it takes
some getting used to – but that’s not what makes for a good beer.
Drinkability: Abita describes Strawgator as a doppelbock right on the
label, but this beer does not taste or drink like that style at all.
It’s more of an imperial pale lager as the mouthfeel is noticeably thin
and crisp despite the hefty weight of 8% ABV. The alcohol is noticeable,
though, creating for mild warmth and astringency. It does go down
smooth and finishes clean, so it’s not a challenge to drink.