Friday, March 15, 2013

Dogfish Head Aprihop

Dogfish Head may be a higher class, east coast version of the west's Rogue Ales; an innovative brewery creating exotic productions.  But with this Apricot IPA, Aprihop, has Dogfish Head gone too far? 

7.0% ABV
50 IBUs

Aprihop is bronze in color, seeming from appearance more an Amber than any sort of Pale Ale. A small head builds and then incrementally falls until it becomes about a millimeter settlement of foam.

There is ripe fruit in Aprihop's scent, particularly that of an orange.  Although the aroma is more orange koolaid than natural orange concentrate.

That same orange characteristic will present itself in Aprihop's diverse flavor profile.  More on that in a bit. 

Thin, but appealing lacing.

Aprihop's strongest note strikes in the middle of the palate.  Unfortunately, it fades quickly, leaving little impact on the back of the mouth nor the top of the throat. 

That note is, first, of an even bitterness throughout.  Throughout, that is, until the very end where disappointingly little lingers.  The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin.  

Aprihop, though, is much more than just bitter.  It's superbly balanced, in fact.  Almost "complex"; yet, not quite. 

Perhaps not complex, what does perplex is the apricot's hiding spot.  Aprihop's body is initially sour citrus.  That eventually becomes tangy orange.  Nothing, though, is uniquely identifiable as apricot.

As time passes and Aprihop settles, it becomes increasingly tasty.  The sourness fades, and the bitter bite digs in.  Aprihop matures into a spicy citrus bomb, and this is when it is best.
Apricot's influence, although not distinctly identifiable, is important in the service it provides in excellently balancing the other features of this beer.  Aprihop would be well balanced on the strength of its delicious malt to hop ratio alone.  The extra fruit flavor, though, finely pulls all parts together to form a delicious conclusion. 

Testament to that balance, Apricot gives subtle hint to some breadiness; and this is despite an otherwise spicy hop complexion.  

So, has Dogfish Head exceeded the threshold at which enjoyably exotic becomes cloyingly weird? 

Certainly not.  

Aprihop is a fruit beer in name only.  

In taste, it is a delightful, although atypical, India Pale Ale. Far from extreme.

Dogfish Head has admirably created a wonderfully balanced beer.  In all ways: Redder than a pale ale, but not dark; hoppy but not tremendously bitter; strong fruits but not juicy.  

Aprihop tiptoes the point of edginess without plunging over.

This is a three star beer (of five)'s recommendation comes with caveats, however.  This isn't 90 Minute.  On, the other hand, Aprihop isn't a fruity lambic.  If you are looking to satisfy a hankering for either, stay away. 

But, for a change of pace, Aprihop is a heck of a beer worthy of giving a "go."


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