Feature photo by izik
Even though the weather has started to drop again in Chicago, my mind is already kicking in spring mode. Along with packing away my winter coat, there is something I’ve done about this time for the last few years: pick up a four-pack of Dogfish Head’s Aprihop.
This is my third year sampling this Apricot IPA, and each year it gets a little better. In 2009, the beer was really fruit forward, and although it was good I really couldn’t drink a lot of it. 2010’s rendition was very good, and it fit the description of a “serious IPA with apricots.” Needless to say, I was very excited to check back in with this beer to see (or taste) which direction it had gone.
It pours a crystal clear shade of orange and tops with a small tan head that dissipates quickly. In the aroma, I get hints of the fruit, but there are also hints of resin, rubber and dank hops. This is the kind of aroma that my favorite IPAs put off.
The flavor is right where it should be; neither over-the-top fruity nor is the fruit nonexistent. It starts with a bit of peach and apricots. Then you’re hit with bitterness and a bit of rubbery, citrusy hop. Lastly, you get some of the sweet Pilsner and caramel malts which finish with a light touch of fruit on the back and sides of the tongue. There’s also a great mouthfeel that is just a little creamy.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of fruit beer, but I do appreciate a well-made beer regardless of what it is. This is a beer I can drink in quantity. It seems to me that the choice of hops really complements the addition of apricots. The Dogfish Head website says that this is a continuously hopped IPA and then is dry hopped with “irresponsible amounts” of Amarillo hops. Amarillo has always given me a little bit of a peach character, and I believe I taste a little bit of Simcoe which has always intensified the fruitiness in my beers.
Aprihop is a beer I look forward to, and this year did not disappoint. It is a beer I feel confident recommending to any beer drinker, even if they are not a hop-head. I think I’m even going to go out for some more, and at 7% abv and about $10 a four-pack it’s not a bad deal for a great specialty beer.
Have you had this beer? Let us know what you thought. Leave a comment below!