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.