This is a beer I approached with great trepidation.
Pecan Harvest Ale, by the Abita Brewing Company. 5.0%
Two factors provoked my hesitation:
1. The Abita Brewing Company, while no doubt a quality brewer, is not among my most preferred.
2. I have a strong distaste for another style of exotic seasonal beer, pumpkin ales, and I was afraid the Pecan Harvest Ale may be similar in all the sort of over-powering characteristics I dislike.
Alas, my concern was unfounded.
This is a beer that I enjoyed tremendously.
The Abita Pecan Harvest Ale is not overwhelming nor extraordinary. But it is a solid beer. Enjoyable and satisfying.
It pours a rich copper with a head that's initially quite full. However, the suds rapidly expire with only faint remnants of their once-presence left fading on the glass.
The initial aroma is mild and malty in nature. However, as the Abita Pecan Harvest Ale is consumed, the scent becomes stronger. So, that is to say the quality of the scent is positively influenced by air and, likely, my nose diving deeper in to the glass with each vessel-emptying sip.
By the final tip of the glass, the aroma has reached its climax. It is at this point, in the now quite tantalizing scent, where the influence of the pecan is most noticeable.
The initial mouthfeel is slightly creamy. And the taste is surprisingly moderate. In fact, just that word exactly summarizes this beer well, in general: "moderate."
Unlike, and happily so, many pumpkin ales I have tried, the featured ingredient in Abita's Pecan Harvest Ale enhances the beer's features rather than trump them.
Unexpected bitterness adds to this harvest ale's pleasant complexity. Despite measuring only 20 IBUs, there is some spice in this, and it hits hardest in the back of the throat.
Had I not seen the label, I may not have identified the pecan inclusion. It's influence, while subtle, is apparent in three areas:
1. As discussed, in the aroma.
2. In the lingering aftertaste.
3. By the effect the nut's oil has on balancing the stronger than expected bitterness.
The Pecan Harvest Ale by Abita is very well done.
It is a great example of a brewer effectively utilizing an unusual ingredient to enhance the positive characteristics of a beer rather than smothering them.
Kudos, Abita. Three out of five stars from TheCraftBeerGuru.
And, you have me looking forward to trying more of your lineup. A success, indeed.