Ithaca Apricot Wheat – 4.9% ABV
I’ve never been a big fan of fruity beer. I went to Iron Monkey one night and saw that they had one on tap from a pretty popular craft brewer and I decided to give it a whirl, even though I had my reservations. I trusted that this establishment (and the brewery for that matter) was solid in reputation so I threw caution to the wind. What I got was a flippin’ fruit smoothie with a touch of alcohol in it. Not at all what I wanted to experience in a beer. So I’m already tenuous when it comes to beer and fruit. You live, you learn right?
I may have been a fan of some of the lighter, easy drinking beers with some fruit component to them, but not necessarily the ones that look like all you’re getting is fruit pulp with a shot of booze in it. If I wanted that, I’d head to the Jersey Shore and hit up Martell’s or Jenkinson’s (or any other beach club for that matter) and hang out with the sorority girls and talk about our latest adventures in makeup. No thank you. I want BEER. Anything else is supposed to be an afterthought. Interesting side note – my cousin brewed a batch of apricot wheat once, and I thought it was interesting. Nice and solid wheat beer, but with a subtle note of underlying fruitiness. I wonder what something like this would be like coming from a craft brewer. Enter Ithaca Apricot Wheat. I picked it up just to pique my curiosity and see if it was anywhere as good as my cousin’s take on the style. This brew poured out a nice hazy blonde-ish gold, leaving about a finger’s worth of creamy white head above it. This would fade at a steady pace, but no matter. So far it looks similar to most other hefes I’ve ever had. The difference in this was the aroma. When burying my nose above this one, not only was I treated to the olfactory goodness that a hefe would normally bring you – wheat grains, citrus, etc – but there was also that undeniable scent of apricot. Light and unassuming, it gave the beer an extra aromatic kick that invited me in to take another whiff. To hell with that I say, I want to taste this puppy.
The first sip came and I knew I liked it. Smooth and easy drinking like a hefe should be, but that added apricot presence made it more than enjoyable. This thing was so easy to quaff, I couldn’t believe how quickly I finished it. The only thing I would think would detract people from this is the lingering apricot taste. I did notice that towards the end of the beer, the fruit had taken over in the flavor department. But this wasn’t a tart, tangy, bitter taste that would make you yearn for malty sweetness, this was apricot and it was smooth and rich with its own sweetness. The beer had a light body, kind of watery, but went down fairly easily. This could be a pretty good session beer for something outdoors in the summertime. Am I crazy about it? It’s not bad, but it doesn’t sit at the top of my list of beers I must have before I die. You know me – go big or go home. This is something I think the ladies would appreciate. Instead of buying those awful wine coolers, have them give this a shot. It’s light, it’s refreshing, it’s fruity. In hindsight, it didn’t blow me away like some of the other beers I’ve had the luxury of tasting, but this is a tasty little number, and one I’m likely to grab again for a cooling-off on a hot summer day. Given the recent string of days with triple-digit temperatures or heat indexes, Ithaca Apricot Wheat might just do the trick for you. Cheers!