Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ithaca Beer Co Apricot Wheat Beer

I haven't had a chance to visit Ithaca yet - I've driven through a couple of times though, and it's a beautiful place.  What I do know is that it's a small college town (population of around 30,000, according to Wikipedia), home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, with lots of natural beauty in and around the city.  It's in the south-eastern section of the Finger Lakes, about halfway between Syracuse and Elmira.  A cursory glance at some of the images of the city and the surrounding area makes me desperately want to spend more time there and discover more of the culture and countryside in this region - I really need to get out of the city more often.

Ithaca's also got one of the more prolific craft breweries in the area, appropriately named the Ithaca Beer Company.  They produce a wide range of brews, from the usual suspects like IPA, Pale Ale and Nut Brown, to less common varieties like Gorges Smoked Porter, CascaZilla (an aggressively-hopped Red Ale) and Ground Break (an 'American Saison').  They also carry the Excelsior Line, a series of premium-quality craft beers which come in 750ml bottles.  Can't wait to give those a try when the wallet allows...

Today we're looking at their Apricot Wheat, a familiar style which becomes really popular as the weather warms up.  'Winter warmer' beers lose their appeal for many and give way to easy-drinking, light-bodied, gently-hopped styles.

Ithaca's Apricot Wheat is a pretty good example of the fruit-beer style, it's got enough of a body that the fruit flavour doesn't totally overwhelm the experience, but it's definitely and unmistakably got that fruity hit that makes these beers so enjoyable.  Here's the breakdown:

Appearance - Like most wheat beers, this is pretty cloudy.  This was pretty cold from the fridge so there may have been some chill haze too.  No head to speak of, and only mild carbonation.

Aroma - the apricot esters come through in the aroma, but don't overpower the senses.  No major hoppiness, mild grainy aroma from the wheat.

Taste - the apricot flavour tasted ever so slightly artificial (I noticed it's brewed using 'natural apricot flavour' rather than fresh apricots).  The underlying wheat beer was detectable, with the grainy goodness and low bitterness you normally associate with that style.  Finished fairly dry, with the mildly plastic-like apricot flavouring lingering.

Mouthfeel - mildly carbonated, with a good medium body.  Pleasant, easy drinking beer.

Overall, this was a pretty good fruit beer.  I would definitely drink it again, especially as the weather warms up and I aim for something a little lighter.  I'm giving this a 3.5 out of 5.

I've got more reviews on the way, including Ithaca's CascaZilla, a locally-brewed British style beer, and my second homebrew batch.  I also have some exciting developments in the pipeline - watch this space!

No comments:

Post a Comment