3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Beer geeks tend to scoff when brewers infuse fruit into their beers, often finding them to be gimmicky or weak imitations of European beers. These same geeks tend to look the other way when highly-regarded American craft breweries like Dogfish Head make a beer like Aprihop. It’s an India Pale Ale brewed with real apricots, and a novel concept to be sure. I never give a brewery a free pass regardless of reputation, and in the case of Aprihop I have to say I liked it but did not love it.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tumbler pint glass. I was quite surprised to see the beer poured to such a dark, burnt umber/mahogany shade, and was almost completely tepid. It formed a pinkie-sized, tan, soapy head which never completely evaporated and did leave some lacing on the glass.
The scent was quite strong, though. Very flowery with noticeable apricot and other fruit aromas. There’s also a prominent malty undertone to the nose leading me to believe this would be a rich, sweet beer.
And I was right. It’s mildly bitter up front and has a rich, thick, sticky sweetness in the middle and end. The first few swigs I’m left with a pleasant, sweet taste of apricot candy. This flavor is very enjoyable, akin to hard candy. As I drank on I noticed the apricot seemed to fade away, which was a little disappointing.
Dogfish Head Aprihop is not the kind of beer I would associate with the IPA style. It drinks much more like a pale ale as the majority of the work is done via the rich malty middle component of the palette. I get caramel and toffee, but they are preceded by a dry bitterness up front with a slightly piney flavor commonly found in East Coast IPAs. However, this beer isn’t quite as robust as your typical IPA as Dogfish Head’s website indicates it’s only 30 IBUs.
While the taste to this beer is good, what’s quietly impressive about it is just how easy it is to drink. It’s not a crisp beer, but it’s not thick, either. The mouthfeel is soft and it finishes rather clean with a pleasing apricot aftertaste that only lingers for a moment or two.
At 7% ABV, Aprihop is bigger in body than you’d expect for a spring seasonal. By the same token, it’s also impressive at just how well that alcohol is masked both in the taste and the body. This would pair very well with lighter dinner fare or satisfy nicely if you were to split a 4-pack with a friend.
While Aprihop didn’t quite blow my mind, it’s the kind of beer you’d expect Dogfish Head to release as a spring seasonal. It’s a great gateway beer for people looking to graduate from mid-level craft beer to higher-end stuff with zero intimidation factor. The only caveat is its $10 price for a 4-pack which might scare off some drinkers who are the target audience. Regardless, it’s a good beer at the end of the day and that’s what I want as a beer drinker.