One of the Pyramid brews that I received was their Audacious Apricot Ale (previously their Apricot Weizen, and before that, simply Apricot Ale), one that I’ve waxed nostalgic about on several occasions, but not that I’ve ever formally reviewed. This isn’t a “formal” review either, like my usual ones, but the beer made an impression that I wanted to write about anyway.
I’ve called the original Pyramid Apricot Ale I drank back in the ’90s a “revelation”—when I was being introduced to craft beer, this took beer to a whole new level: fruit. (I also remember drinking Bert Grant’s Honey Apple Ale around this time and being similarly amazed at how good it was.) It was delicious and bready, like a fresh, soft baguette, and yet completely infused with luscious notes of summertime apricots—it was a perfect fruit pairing for a beer, and it set a pretty high benchmark for other fruits beers I tried.
Apricot ales in particular, nobody else seemed to be able to get right. There was always too much “earth” and not enough “fruit,” even with (especially with) a homebrewed apricot ale I made myself (with fresh-picked apricots a friend brought back from Moses Lake, Washington—I was living in Spokane during this time). A good apricot beer should have a hint of earthiness behind the sweet, but more often than not I end up thinking “soil” or “dirt” with hints of fruit behind that.
And in recent years, even Pyramid’s Apricot offering fell short. I don’t know exactly what it was—a lot less of the fruit character than I remember, too much filtering, using extract instead of real fruit (or maybe vice-versa)—whatever it was, it was clear that the recipe had strayed from the one I adored in the mid-90s.
But now, with this (yet another) change to “Audacious Apricot Ale” (formerly “Apricot Weizen,” née “Apricot Ale”), I’m pretty sure Pyramid has tweaked the recipe again—in fact, I think they’ve tweaked it a long way back to the original Apricot Ale that I first encountered. I honestly opened this beer without high expectations, for all the reasons I laid out above, and frankly I was very surprised: this is a good, solid fruit beer again, with a noticeable (almost assertive) apricot presence and is well-balanced between the wheat and the fruit.
It’s not exactly as good as I remember, but it was good enough to give me a sense of déjà vu—and that’s some serious mojo. But it is good, it’s the best Pyramid has had in years, and it’s highly drinkable at 5.1% alcohol.