We can all attest that Abita beer is a New Orleans staple. Though I’m not an avid beer drinker, I fell in love with this NOLA tradition when I had my first Abita Strawberry upon a visit to New Orleans. After that, I was hooked, and when I did move to New Orleans, whenever I wanted a beer, I would go down to the nearest store or bar and pick up an Abita.
Last Saturday, I was in need of a festive libation to bring to a friend’s engagement barbeque. Abita sounded like the perfect choice, but alas I have recently relocated from our fair city of New Orleans to Los Angeles, where Abita is not so easy to locate.
But, like any good sleuth, I took to the Internet to begin searching for places that sold Abita. I quickly discovered that Cost Plus World Market as well as BevMo both carried Abita, but I was also craving some California sunshine and a brisk walk on this very un-fall-like November day and decided to also phone a few local liquor stores. (It was only upon researching this article that I discovered Abita has a “find Abita” locator on their website; fortunately, Aibta is sold at more locations that I would’ve thought – way to go NOLA!)
After a few calls, I came across Santa Monica Liquor on Wilshire and 10th. I spoke with Sam, the storeowner, who said he not only had Abita, but three kinds of Abita! I grabbed my reusable cooler grocery bag and headed out on my quest.
As I walked, I enjoyed the very low humidity as I soaked in the Santa Monica sights: the sun sparkling on the blue Pacific Ocean and palm trees lining the streets, but my thoughts also turned to all that I miss in New Orleans, my beloved other home: saying hello or smiling at random strangers and having them smile back, the community of people and the remarkably distinct world they create, the culture, the food, the “laissez les bon temps rouler” attitude, and, of course, being able to find Abita at the drop of a hat.
Yet when I arrived to the store, I encountered a bit of the friendly NOLA community spirit in the city of LA. The storeowner, Sam, was a delight. We talked about how he has been carrying Abita for nine years and how people in LA just love the beer.
I walked out of the store feeling uplifted. Of course, I will always miss living in NOLA and doing my favorite things there such as sitting on the porch at The Columns, taking walks through Audubon park and bikes down the levee, searching for a new favorite restaurant, seeing Arnold the usher cheering at Hornets games…the list goes on forever.
But having lived in NOLA and fallen head over heels in love with everything the city has to offer, I will always carry a piece of it with me, and for now, I can bring a little more of the southern comfort and laid back attitude to the people of LA.
Brianna Smyk has an M.A. in Art History. A former New Orleanian, she maintains a passion for the city and its people and writes about arts and culture for NolaVie.