Beer Review 0045: Abita Turbodog

Turbodog, a brown ale, comes to us from Abita Brewing Company, located in Louisiana, 30 miles north of New Orleans.

The brewery began operation in 1986 and quickly found a local following; expansion occurred in 1994 when they outgrew the original facility. Today, they’re consistently offering up over 109,000 barrels of beer each year, and they also produce root beer — 6,000 barrels per year — I can’t be the only one around here that likes a good root beer float!

Abita brews with water drawn from its own spring, with no preservatives or additives introduced into the brews. They also cold filter, which the company says makes the liquids taste fresher.

Another cool thing is the company is owned by local shareholders, many of which have been an owner since that first day in 1986.

Turbodog is a flagship beer, registering 5.6% ABV (alcohol by volume) and brewed with pale, crystal, and chocolate malts. The beer is advertised as rich in color and flavor, taking on a sweet chocolate and toffee flavor. We don’t often do food pairings here, but this one is said to go well with hamburgers, sausages or smoked fish — and you can cook with it too; apparently cabbage and greens are good made in Turbodog. (You’ll have to take their word for it.)

Turbodog (what a cool name for a beer, eh?) produced a large head that contrasted nicely with its tawny brown liquid. The head lasted quite a while and was rocky but still creamy, a unique texture. The body of the beer was muddy looking but free of particles and sediment. The lacing was in bits and pieces along the glass, never full sheets or very thick.

The aromatics were mostly malts, as expected, but what was here was hard to find. I detected a backbone of milk chocolate and coffee, with a bit of grain present in the background and a faint whiff of some doughy or musty yeast. This aroma was unimpressive and the faintness of scents affected the score. It was almost like I had a cold and couldn’t smell, but… I don’t.

Turbodog makes up for it on the palate, with caramel flavors to start which transition into a milk chocolate finish that turns into a darker chocolate, eventually concluding with glimpses of smoke and toffee. The feel of the beer is the winner here — it’s creamy and silky, very smooth, combined with a little bite from the carbonation.

This brown ale has good flavors and an excellent texture, but I feel like Abita just played this one too safe. If the tastes were more intense, especially the initial caramel and chocolate, this one would be an absolute slam dunk despite its lack of aromatics. But perhaps that just falls in line with the major problem here: a lack of focus.

It’s nice, but not outstanding.

Abita Turbodog, 83 points. Price: $1.49 US for one twelve ounce bottle.


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