Had Dogfish Head‘s unusual Aprihop last night. It was pretty good. The apricot is there, but understated… not an overly fruity beer, but nowhere near as awful as some fruit beers out there that also aren’t overly fruity.
I’ll name some names in a moment. First, my notes.
Appearance: Poured a thin off-white head which dissipated quickly. The beer itself is a slightly hazy walnut-gold-copper color.
Smell: Apricot dominates the nose, but it’s not overpowering—very pleasant, in fact. There’s some subtle hop action going on there, also.
Taste: First impression is the apricot. It’s good, but not cloying. Then there’s rich, bready, nutty (toasted?) malt. Clean hop flavor which doesn’t overpower the fruit. The apricot is mild, not bitter at all (I once brewed an apricot ale that was on the bitter side… probably from the skins).
Mouthfeel: Thinnish, almost a fruit juice character happening. Not as full-bodied as some (most?) IPAs.
Overall it’s a good beer, if different from what you’d expect a fruit beer to be. You’ve got the characteristics of a good IPA—7% alcohol, hops—with the pleasant aroma and flavor of the fruit hanging out in there. It’s worth buying again.
It scored 86 out of a hundred on BeerAdvocate. 97% of reviewers liked it with a thumbs-up.
Okay, to the naming names part I mentioned. I think the overall worst apricot ale I’ve ever had was from the now-gone Birkebeiner Brewery in Spokane, Washington. Most of their other beer was pretty good, but man, their apricot really sucked. It was just too… earthy, I guess, and lacking in the actual fruit flavor.