Tuesday, July 7, 2009

St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale


4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 30, 2010
There are seemingly two types of fruity wheat beers: the authentic European-style brews like framboise, lambic, etc. And then there are the American gimmicky wheat beers with a fruit in the name which, more often than not, tend to be generic pilsners with a fruity taste.

But once in a while I encounter a crafty beer that’s a much more substantial summer brew like St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale. It’s neither American nor European since it’s made in Quebec, Canada; but it seems to be a combination of both worlds. It has real genuine taste and body, as well as a high drinkability factor, so it doesn’t have the pretenses of an authentic European brew of the style.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

Disregarding all advice to the contrary, I decided to use a tulip glass to drink this beer. It poured to a dark amber color with a hazy complexion and plenty of small bubbles of carbonation. It produced a fizzy, off-white head which dissipated quickly and left a bit of lacing on the glass. The scent was fairly mild with notes of apricot, although it mostly smelled of wheat and water.

TASTE

I usually prefer my beers bitter, but when a beer has a delicious sweetness without any gimmicks I like that too. This is a good way to describe the palate to Apricot Wheat Ale. Up front I get a mild, somewhat wheaty taste, but there is a strong apricot flavor on the finish. It actually tastes like a sweet fruit bouquet of apricot, plum and peach. In fact, I was reminded of peach-flavored Jolly Rancher candies.

What’s odd is the flavor only came on the finish. And while said flavor was indeed sweet and refreshing, I couldn’t help but wonder why the palate was so evenly divided. Had the flavors been more evenly distributed it could have made for a more complex, richer palate. I also would have preferred something a bit more true to its actual beer roots since I only detected a mild maltiness to the palate and no hops at all.

DRINKABILITY

It’s hard to find a craft beer that’s as easy to drink as an American macro light lager, but they do exist and Apricot Wheat Ale is a perfect example of such. With a thin, watery body and a flavor that’s refreshing as well as tasty, this beer is an absolutely drinker-friendly brew. It tastes and drinks more like Snapple with a clean, smooth finish and very easy mouthfeel.

WEIGHT

The jury is apparently still out on what a proper body should be for a fruity wheat beer. At 5% ABV I think St. Ambroise might be a tad heavier than most beers of the type, but for a beer in general it’s still quite light. This would work wonderfully as a party beer.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s a lot to like about St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale since it’s tasty, easy to drink, and won’t fill you up. Considering what it’s able to accomplish with an otherwise pedestrian brewing style I’d say its done its job extremely well.

Grade: 7/10