For the first instalment of fruit beer Friday I thought it would be appropriate to taste two apricot beers because it is August and the season for stone fruit. I love this time of year at the local market. Peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and lots of berries fill the stands and you can’t resist buying a few pints every market day. Maybe you are going to bake with them, grill them, put them in a smoothie or simply eat them raw. Fresh and local fruit from the market is where it is at in the summer time!
A refreshing fruit beer is also where it is at in the summer time as this is often the time of year that the shelves at your local store are brimming with a wide selection of new and interesting types! I will admit, I am not a crazy fruit beer fanatic, but there is a time and a place for everything. I often enjoy a fruit beer with dessert or on its own when I am just going to have one beer after a hot day and I am looking for something refreshing with a little interest or lighter, sweeter flavour. Fruit beer can also be great for the person who loves cider, but is still not that into beer and is looking to transition. I recently gave a friend of mine some Liefmans Fruitesse for their birthday. It is a fruit beer that you serve over ice and it has a slightly lower alcohol percentage and is extremely refreshing. She is not a beer drinker and is admittedly more of a cider fan, but loved this fruit beer! The Liefmans is also a perfect example of a fruit beer for a person who thinks they don’t like fruit beers. My partner loved it the first time he tried it and typically he will avoid fruit beers and usually leans more towards porters, black lagers and flavourful ales.
The first beer we tried was the Apricot Wheat Ale (LCBO# 338343), by St. Ambroise in Montreal, QC. Natural apricot flavour is added to this ale resulting in a subtle sweetness with a playful twist on a lighter ale. St. Ambroise is a subsidiary of McAuslan Brewing which was established in 1989 in Montreal and remains Quebec foremost micro-brewery.
Colour: Deep golden brew with amber undertones.
Smell: Peaches, nectar, honey and quite floral.
Taste: Apple, a subtle sweetness with a dry finish and a lingering subtle peach aftertaste. Buttered bread. Light, creamy and smooth moving into a dry finish. To both my partner and I this one tasted more like beer than like fruit and we both noted that you could drink this one all day without feeling like you were going to get a sugar hangover.
The second beer we tried was Organic Apricot Fruit Ale (LCBO# 365726), by Samuel Smith Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK. Samuel Smith Brewing makes hand crafted and thoughtful organic products. The barley and wheat are organically sourced and the brewery uses old, manually operated brewing equipment. Their beers undergo primary and secondary fermentation, which allows the beer to settle out and condition properly. The beer is then blended with pure, organic apricot juice resulting in a delightful fruit ale.
Colour: Straw yellow/ golden with a think viscosity when poured.
Smell: Buttered popcorn, honey, the outer skin of an apricot and slightly medicinal.
Taste: Heavy mouthfeel, acidic, juicy with honey flavours. We both quite enjoyed the flavour of this beer as well, but it was hard to compare the two because the flavours and the weight of each beer were so different. This one was a heavier ale, but with a fruitier, juicier taste in contrast to the lighter, dryer St. Ambroise.
Give them and try and let me know which one you liked best! Any feedback on fruit beers I should try in the future?
Also check out this great cooking with beer recipe for Ale Cream Pie on another great beer blog, Head Over Beers. The recipe would work well with either of these summer fruit beers for those who like to cook with beer. Cheers!