During the winter months, I gravitate toward big, heavy, complicated beers, with lots of roasty, toasty, malty flavour. It’s the liquid equivalent of curling up under a nice, comfortable blanket with a good book while a roaring fire blazes on your TV.
But in the summer? Sometimes I just want something simple, delicious and yummy, without all the depth and character of a fine porter. The liquid equivalent of a beach read, say, where the plot is fun but predictable, and all the loose ends are happily tied.
Alley Kat’s Aprikat fills that role practically every summer. Even though I no longer hang my hat in the City of Champions, my love for Edmonton’s Alley Kat microbrewery remains strong. Aprikat, one of their staples, invariably finds its way into my fridge at least a couple of times every summer. It tastes like sunshine, patios and a spy thriller on the balcony. And there’s nothing wrong with that, goddammit.
The Pitch: From the Alley Kat website: “Try our spin on the traditional wheat ale. Alley Kat has managed to turn this wheat ale into a fruity delight with natural apricot extracts.” To paraphrase the Aprikat notes on their website, it’s a wheat ale brewed with 50% wheat, yet fermented not with the strains of yeast typically associated with wheat beers, but with Alley Kat’s standard ale strain. The result is a hybrid fruit/wheat beer.
The Look: The box is a standard Alley Kat six-pack, with lots of black and golden yellow. The beer is a light gold colour, with a small head that dissipates quickly. It’s very slightly cloudy.
The Taste: Like apricot and a simple, refreshing wheat beer. The apricot aroma is instantly identifiable as soon as you stick your nose in the glass. It pulls off just the right blend of forward fruit taste and quaffable beer, striking that elusive fruit beer balance that’s so hard to nail. Light bitterness helps temper the light sweetness. I’ve tried the apricot beer from St-Ambroise, and I don’t like it as much as Aprikat. There’s nothing harsh about the flavour.
Pairs With: Great on its own, actually. Alley Kat recommends cooking with Aprikat, which I imagine would yield interesting results.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $13.99 for a six-pack at a Liquor Depot in south Edmonton.
Value for cash money: Good. I think I’ve paid less elsewhere (around $12.49ish), so keep your eyes open for a cheaper price.
Availability: It’s easy to find in Edmonton and Calgary, and is available year-round – good news, as it’s an excellent choice for marking mid-winter warm-snaps and chinooks that deserve to be celebrated.
Nutrition?: It’s beer. Moderation, friends.
Beerish power: 5.0% a.b.v.
The verdict: Yummy. I know a lot of manly men will balk at drinking what seems like a very girlie beer, but it’s a great patio sipper worth your consideration.