Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?"

Courage! That's what we need right now folks, courage and lots of it! For we are about to embark on a perilous journey. The road ahead is dark; the night full of shadows. Some of us may not make it to our destination. Many may fall by the wayside 'for we discover the wonders that await us. But will we pause? Will we tremble in fear? Will we let phantoms and halfwits deter us from our objective? Well, maybe.

Tighten your belts, make sure your packs are resting comfortably on your shoulders, please put your traytables in the upright and locked position. We are about to start our quest for that most elusive of beasts: a beer that is "sweet and yummy."

I was IM'ing a friend of mine and she mentioned that she did not care for beer because she had not found one that was, well, sweet and yummy. Okay, so I have a repetition problem. I can handle it.

So with this post I start a continuing search for a beer Bibliobabe might enjoy.

Well, there are many beers that can be classified as sweet. However, remember that hops are often used in beer and since they yield an acid, they tend to make beer at least a little bitter. When I worked in QA the technique I just used was called "covering your ass".

If we want sweet, then a good place to start would be with fruit beers. Fruit beers are, uh..., well..., beers made with fruit. I can handle it! There are many different fruit beers. It really just depends on how the brewer is willing to experiment. Certain Belgian fruit beers are called lambics and can be an acquired taste. Have you got the impression by now that Belgians like to play around with beer?

And so, the first potential sweet and yummy beer is: Pyramid Apricot Ale.

Pyramid Apricot Ale is made by Pyramid Breweries Inc. in Seattle, WA and Berkeley, CA. It contains 5.10% ABV and I would estimate a rather low IBU rating perhaps in the 5 - 10 range.

The beer is based on wheat ale, which as the name implies contains a higher proportion of wheat to barley. This produces a mellow often cloudy light colored beer. The cloudiness comes from proteins in the wheat. To this wheat ale base has been added...apricots! Ha! Caught you off-guard there didn't I?

I would recommend that you only pour about half a glass of this at a time. Why? Because when you tilt the glass to drink, you get a nosefull of the aroma. Guess what it smells like. If you said rotting fish heads, stop reading this right now and go and hit yourself on the head several times with a ballpeen hammer. The apricot aroma is very nice. Sweet, but not too strong.

The beer is an attractive deep golden yellow - almost orange - color. It is cloudy and I would bet that this is due to the apricots as much as the wheat. It forms a pleasant, but not very persistent head.

Now the crucial part - the taste! How does it taste? What subtle flavors come through? Can you guess? If you said mustard and green beans please slam your hand in a car door. It's okay, well wait. Well, not surprisingly, Pyramid Apricot Ale tastes like apricots. But not just apricots! This is where this beer surprised me. There is a very subtle wheat and hop flavor, it's only a hint really, but it is there. The place where the hop influence comes through is in the finish. "Finish" is a beer snob term that means the last taste you have as you swallow. The finish of this beer is as follows:

You start to perceive a slight sour taste mostly on the side and back of your tongue - not unpleasant. This sour taste grows quickly until you think that you are going to pucker, but then suddenly the sour taste stops - just like that! I won't get too pretentious here, but that finish means that the brewers knew what they were doing. If that sour taste had kept getting stronger it would have spoiled the whole beer, instead it just makes it more interesting. Well done Pyramid!

So, is Pyramid Apricot Ale our fabled sweet & yummy? I would be disappointed if I fulfilled the quest after one attempt! However, I do recommend Bibliobabe give this one a try. It's got the sweet, but the yummy is all up to her.



Hal's Wife said...

Your description makes me excited to try it!

Should I shop around locally or wait until we are together to further my education and also delight you in person with my response?

I've learned a lot from you so far - so even if my quest for the sweet and yummy beer never ends, I can still 'talk' like a beer snob with you now --- or at least understand your silly gibberish!

thanks for braving uncharted waters on my behalf -- here's your next research topic -- do nuns make beer?

BigRuta said...

What? No comment on the Wizard of Oz quote?

Hal's Wife said...

Sorry BigRuta,

It was not intentional. I have simply blocked all elements related to WoO from my mind.

Why you ask? Because after growing up in Kansas, I am scarred.

Why you ask - again? Since the WoO takes place in the blessed state of Kansas, the powers that be, those evil minions in charge of television viewing for the unsuspecting and unheard residents of that fair state, felt that it was necessary, mandatory even, to air that film as often as possible...

Needless to say, I have been subjected to that film more times during my childhood than should be suffered by anyone...

So while I appreciate your 'ape' comment, I couldn't acknowledge it for fear of -- well, I would have gone all Dorothy on my husband. Which reminds me, where did I put that dress?

If you're extra sweet, I'll sing "Somewhere over the rainbow" for you when we're on vacation this summer!

Anonymous said...

Cool! I'll bring my flying monkey costume!

- Guess Who!