A few years ago,
I made a long anticipated trip to New Orleans. In a manner of speaking, I
had been there before, at least in a bottle. That’s because I had already
enjoyed a number of delightful beers from Louisiana’s Abita brewery. Abita
beers were easy to find when I lived in Rhode Island, and here in Georgia,
closer to the source, they’re even more abundant.
When I got to New Orleans, though, that’s when they became really ubiquitous. You literally couldn’t throw a stone without hitting an Abita Amber tap or two, and Turbo Dog was pretty easy to find, too. Loving the concept of local beer as I do, I thought this a truly wonderful thing. When I was in New Orleans, though, it wasn’t Mardi Gras, that most celebrated of local events, and one for which this town is known both far and wide.
But that’s OK, because now Abita brings you Mardi Gras in a bottle with Jockamo IPA. I wasn’t really sure what the name was all about when I bought it, so I’ll let Abita tell you:
The newest Abita brew takes its name and inspiration from the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans. Looking for Indians on Mardi Gras Day is a tradition for many New Orleans families. A cultural phenomenon familiar to residents of the Crescent City, the Mardi Gras Indians are not well known to outsiders and Abita is proud to help share their story with the world.
The Mardi Gras Indians are not Native American Indians. They are primarily African Americans who take to the streets during carnival season wearing elaborate costumes with intricate beadwork and masses of colorful feathers, sequins and rhinestones.
There is a picture of one of these guys on the label of the beer, and Abita goes on to explain they prance about shouting “Jockamo!”, from a refrain in the Dixie Cups classic “Iko Iko” tune. This all has a lot more to do with local culture than beer, you might think, but beer is always a part of local culture, so there you go. And speaking of beer, I’m ready for one, how about you?
Abita Jockamo IPA pours to a bright, orange red color with a thick creamy head formation and a citric-grassy hop nose. This is a rather lively beer, and a few minutes after pouring there are still streams of bubbles coming up from the bottom all the way to the top of the glass. A sip reveals a good amount of body here, with some very noticeable caramel malt, though this isn’t as big as a lot of American IPAs you’ll find.
Hops make themselves known almost immediately, and they’re grassy and herbal, and a tad citric too, depositing a slightly bitter buzz on the tongue in the finish. At 6.5% alcohol by volume, Jockamo is a little stronger than your average beer, and in the range expected for an IPA. Still and all, this reminds me a lot more of an ESB than an IPA, at least by American standards. The grassy hops definitely suggest an English connection.
Certainly, this isn’t as big as a lot of IPAs made in America today, but it is a very, very drinkable one with a lot of flavor and, overall, very nicely balanced. Definitely a bargain at $6 a six-pack too in these, the days of ever upward-spiraling beer prices.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.