One of my all-time favorites, Ithaca Beer Company’s Apricot Wheat holds a special place in my h̶e̶a̶r̶t̶/̶s̶t̶o̶m̶a̶c̶h̶/̶ liver. No surprise – it’s the brewery’s top selling beer but only holds a 74 on Beer Advocate.
(As a native of upstate New York, not far from Ithaca, I admit my opinion may be slightly biased.)
As far as wheat beers go, there’s nothing really special here – basic malt profile led by 2-Row Pale malt to set a nice base and a dose of cascade hops. I’m not sure how much hop they include in the brew, because this beer is all about the apricot.
Both on the nose and tongue, that’s where this beer excels. While it’s got enough sweetness to please mild beer palates, it has enough malt body for serious beer drinkers as well. Ithaca uses apricot flavoring for this beer, which is why the fruitiness of the beer is so strong. I think it’d be amazing if Ithaca Beer took this, casked it and threw in some apricots. I have my own apricot brew which turned out well using a pureed version of the real thing.
Don’t get me wrong, the beer isn’t all apricot and nothing else, but the fruit is center stage. It’s not too much and never gets annoying. This beer is refreshing and (for me, at least) can be drunk all day long.
For me, it’s the perfect summer beer. Sorry, Sam Adams.