Mobile’s favorite time of the year is here again — moonpies, beads, balls, parades and, of course, lots of adult libations. So without further ado, let’s get the party started!
Louisiana’s Abita Brewing always puts out a special beer for parading time, and this year it’s the Mardi Gras Bock, a sweet, malty, amber-colored pilsner in a German style, with some hints of spice at the finish. Very nice and drinkable. At 6.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), it’s stronger than it tastes, but not so powerful you won’t make it to the fire trucks bringing up the rear of the parade. Abita also has a (caffeine-free) King Cake soda for the little ones, made with Louisiana cane sugar and hints of frosting and cinnamon.
As one might expect, a host of Louisiana breweries are putting out seasonal Mardi Gras brews, but only Abita is readily available in our area. If you’re heading to New Orleans for some Carnival fun, however, be on the lookout for NOLA Brewing Co.’s Muses, Bayou Teche’s Courir de Mardi Gras and Cajun Fire’s Big Chief.
But here in the home of the original Mardi Gras, we don’t care too much about those late-to-the-party Louisianans and, now that we’ve got a host of our own breweries, we’re ready to let the Boom Boom roll through downtown while hoisting some local brews.
Serda Brewing has a number of special Mardi Gras beers on tap, including the SMaSH American Pale Ale and the Pirate Monkey American Wheat. A number of local homebrewers also have some Mardi Gras beers on tap at the brewery, including the sweet King Cake Barleywine and a couple of milk stouts, including one made with bananas. Serda’s, of course, also has a prime location for watching the parades roll down Government Street. So grab a pint, take a seat outside in the beer garden and let the throws come to you!
Not far from the parade route, abutting the Church Street Graveyard, where the Merry Widows gather every Sunday before Fat Tuesday at Joe Cain’s tomb, Haint Blue Brewing’s Crystal Ice House is getting into the spirit of the season with a number of special beers. The Cain & Kazoola Pale Ale, named for Mobile legends Joe Cain and Cudjoe Lewis, is destined to become one of Haint Blue’s standbys. The brewery is also putting out the Sweet Lunacy Hazy IPA and a still-unnamed (at this printing) espresso mocha stout, made with Chaleur coffee, vanilla beans and cocoa nibs, for Mardi Gras season. There will also be live music at the Ice House on Joe Cain Day (March 3) from Jamell Richards.
On the north side of downtown, and located close to the end of Route C, Iron Hand Brewing doesn’t have any limited brews for Mardi Gras, but its bartenders have created a couple of specialty cocktails — the Pink Carnivale and the King Cake Cocktail — because, as a brew pub, they can have a full bar along with their fresh beers. And on Fat Tuesday, Iron Hand will be serving $1 slices of homemade King Cake with the purchase of an entree.
If you don’t want to fight the crowds downtown, or you are just paraded out, Grayson Capps will play down in Gulf Shores at Big Beach Brewing Co. on Fat Tuesday, from 3-6 p.m., which is about the most Mobile Mardi Gras thing you could possibly do without being in town yourself. If you do go, give their full-bodied sour Warhead Boogie Boysenberry Berliner Weisse a try. You can thank me later.
Laissez le bon débit de bière!
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