Dogfish Head is one of the breweries that has maintained their status as a great craft brewer through some really explosive growth. Even the most snobbish of beer lovers will look forward to one of their new releases or a seasonal batch of something bearing that familiar silhouette of the Dogfish. Naturally, I was exited when I heard that Dogfish Head was doing a tap takeover at my local brew-shop. They were pouring 120 Minute, Red & White and Aprihop. While any of these three would have made an excellent choice for a column, I felt that there was a very unique complexity and energy about the India pale ale, Aprihop.
On the Dogfish Head site, it states that Aprihop is brewed with pilsner and crystal malts, and has apricot added in the brewing stage. It is then continuously hopped in the Dogfish fashion with a heaping helping of Amarillo hops. The alcohol by volume is simple and respectable, at least for an IPA: seven percent. A six-pack of this will set you back a good 10 spot, like most other good six packs.
In keeping with the suggested serving, I had mine in a pint glass. One might view this selection as kind of a large portion for someone planning on doing a big long tasting, but it was reasonable for such an excellent and refreshing drink. It poured out a reddish orange, with a big wet head on top. You could see the carbonation bubbles through the hazy light, but only just so. There was a great big hoppy scent, but not as aggressive as something that touts itself as being dry hopped continuously. Not a problem with me, but I did find myself searching in vain for a hint of the apricot. However, I can’t really say I expected it to win when pitted against hops. Pressing on, I thought that I would find the elusive fruit in the taste.
I was immediately hit with a very refreshing floral hop, while the pilsner malts gave a good smooth background. You very clearly get the apricot right after, giving just a hint of sweetness. It isn’t an overbearing or even major flavor in this beer, but it supplies a much needed uniquely vegetal flavor. It is almost like the addition in this beer was just the pulp and skin of an apricot, where you get all the oils, rather than the juice. I actually prefer it this way.
Sweet additions in an IPA really show their best colors as a backup to the hop profile. This is especially true when it is a refreshing and well-balanced IPA such as Aprihop. There was a bit of a dry, sticking finish from some of the earlier-added hops. It didn’t really cut down on the drinkability too much, but I felt it would have been better complimented by some food.
Speaking of food, the Dogfish Head website was kind enough to give some food pairing recommendations. Salads, swordfish, Mexican cuisine, barbecue and hummus. I can see each of these selections working well with this beer, but the list is almost a jumble for ONE magnificent dish! Consider, if you will, pairing Aprihop IPA with a cilantro and lime marinated blackened swordfish salad, with pine nuts, Pico de Gallo, and a side of hummus and pita. Dang, that sounds like something I’d eat whether I had a good beer or not.
This is a solid, refreshing beer that stays interesting. I’m glad I could be there for Dogfish Head taking over the taps, because now I know of a great beer for the spring and summer seasons. I’m going to have to buy a six-pack or two and match up their food pairings. This is a solid, refreshing beer that will maintain your interest.