Review: Dogfish Head Aprihop

Review of Dogfish Head Aprihop from Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE.

Beer Type: India Pale Ale (IPA) IBU: 50  ABV: 7.0%  Tried from Bottle.

Their Description: “Aprihop is an American IPA brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts. It’s massively hopped — in the continuous fashion, of course! — and the flavor is complemented by the addition of apricot juice. After fermentation, the beer is dry hopped with irresponsible amounts of Amarillo hops. The beer has a hoppy aroma, with the apricot playing a supporting role. The flavor is rich with late hop notes, and its bitterness is tempered by just the right amount of malt sweetness and fruity undertones from the apricot.”

The Reality: In this case the guys at Dogfish head actually did a really good job describing their beer. The first thing I noticed when I poured the glass was the fresh hoppy fragrance, not an apricot smell and that the beer itself was a darker color than I expected. It has a light frothy head and a medium body. With the first sip you know you’re drinking an IPA, but it gives way to a mild fruitiness and then a caramel sweetness in the aftertaste. The apricot is definitely just a “supporting role”, as they say, to the point that I couldn’t even identify it as apricot, just that there was something creating a mild caramel malty sweetness in the finish. It’s very similar to Martin Short’s “supporting role” as Dr. Franff on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, where you couldn’t really identify him but you knew there was something causing the awkward zaniness in those scenes. I found it to be medium-hopped as IPAs go, even though they declare it to be “massively hopped” with “irresponsible amounts”, that doesn’t translate to a severely hopped taste in the end product.

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Final Verdict: Aprihop is a really good example of how fruit can be used in the brewing process to add subtle notes and some complexity to a beer, without becoming the dominant flavor of the beer. On top of that, I really liked this beer and can see drinking it in a variety of circumstances. I think it would appeal to IPA drinkers (like myself) who enjoy a new twist on classic IPA, and may even be a good “gateway beer” for non-IPA drinkers to start with as they work the way to something more hop-dominated. Plus there’s a lumberjack on the label, and this beer can definitely hack it.