Fruity wheat ales are difficult to honestly review. Basically, you either enjoy the fruity flavor or your don’t. Most American beers of the style deliberately brew the beer to have the fruit flavor first and beer taste second and that’s certainly true of Ithaca Apricot Wheat. A brew made with an underutilized fruit that’s authentic enough to please anyone that likes apricot.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a wheat beer glass (yeah I know it’s not a hefe).
Appearance: Slightly hazy orange body, otherwise translucent with some carbonation visible. Forms an average size, white, soapy head which dissipates almost completely and leaves no lacing on the glass.
Smell: Fresh apricots and apricot hard candy. Very little to the nose indicates this is a beer.
Taste: I find that most fruity wheat beers often follow the same pattern of sweet and tasty for the first half and then get played out by the second half. That’s almost true of Ithaca Apricot Wheat - the difference being the apricot flavor remains strong and sweet until the bitter end (that, and the fact I like the taste of apricot).
The beer has an overt, unapologetic, mostly authentic apricot flavor right away and throughout the entire palate. I say "mostly authentic" because it does seem a tad synthetic and reminiscent of a peach-flavored Jolly Rancher candy. There’s a slight tartness through the middle, and the second half becomes more diluted. A hint of bitterness occurs somewhere on the back end and the finish is clean.
Mouthfeel: Cold, tepid, thin, slightly fizzy (especially if drank fast).
Drinkability: If you like the taste of apricot you’re going to find Ithaca Apricot Wheat absolutely guzzleable. The candy-like taste, thin mouthfeel and smooth, clean finish make it go down easily and en masse. If you don’t like apricot you might find it too tart and sip it instead (although the thin body might help you slug it down faster). At 4.9% ABV it’s a pretty light beer and an ideal refresher in the summer.
Overall, Ithaca Apricot Wheat is okay beer and a standard fruity wheat ale. It does become old hat rather quickly, but it never becomes off-putting. A beer I’d much rather have on hand in a cooler or a fridge for any summer social situation. Call it a chick beer if you want, but I think the average guy will dig it too.