Pyramid Apricot Ale, Hart Brewing, Seattle/Kalama Washington
The phrase "An apricot flavored ale" is at the bottom of the main
label, and the beer's Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival
dominates the neck label -- but with the year (1994) and category
(Fruit/Vegetable). No "Best Beer in America" hype in the Sam Adams
mode: refreshing, as is this Apricot Ale.
It's been a while since I've had any of the Pyramid beers. I recall
the Hefe-Weizen as satisfactory but somehow lacking, and the others
as in the same league -- and slightly overpriced wherever I've seen
them in Colorado or Montana. They never seemed to be worth the extra
dollar or so more per sixpack than competitors' beers, and I've
never made a habit of buying them.
Pyramid Apricot Ale is apricot-colored, more or less, and slightly
cloudy: chill haze typical of some wheat beers, and perhaps yeast.
It has a solid wheat flavor, light hopping that seems to be mostly
bittering hops, and a quirk peculiar to fruit beers that get some or
all of their flavor from fruit extracts rather than fruit: a strange
bitter taste that doesn't seem to be from hops and is mildly unpleasant.
Here that bitterness is mild; in raspberry-flavored ales it can be
At refrigerator temperature the apricot flavor isn't really there.
As the beer warms, it becomes prominent and eventually overwhelming.
I find it cloying, eventually, but then I'm not over-fond of apricots:
to someone who really likes them, the intensity might not be a problem.
Side notes: recently I went to Las Vegas for a wedding. At my stopover
in Salt Lake City I had one of the Wasatch ales -- not bad, but served
too cold and at too high a price. If by some Utah law it was low in
alcohol I couldn't detect that. In Vegas itself, the only local brew
I had a chance to try was at the Monte Carlo's brewpub, a raspberry
wheat beer with a touch of the odd bitterness I mentioned above. $3.50
for 25 ounces is not a bad price (unless one expects free drinks in
Las Vegas), but the poker machines at the bar
are voracious. The place has an impressive-looking array of brewing
equipment, but for all I know the beer might be contract-brewed on the
West Coast and all the equipment might be window-dressing.