Continuing along with my “stuff in beer” reviews, is St Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale. I’ve said it in past posts, but I’ll say it again: I don’t go in for this seasonal beer stuff. True, I think there are beers for specific occasions or times, but I would never consider turning down a delicious stout in July or a gorgeous weisse in February. I probably wouldn’t crack a Russian Imperial Stout to cool down after mowing the lawn, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have one with some chocolate after dinner that night. That being said, most people do identify beers as being seasonally appropriate, and this is one generally accepted as being a summer beverage. And there is no doubt a filtered wheat beer with apricot juice is likely to be one heck of a refreshing drink. So drink it now when it’s hot, but don’t rule it out when you’re cutting into your Christmas cake or steamed pudding in December.
From a 341ml bottle with a best-before and batch stamp on it, McAuslan Apricot Wheat pours a crystal clear, amber/honey yellow with a touch of orange to the centre. About 3″ of fluffy head drops to a dense 1/2″ layer that is well supported by a fairly active carbonation. Aroma is actually sweet malts with a wheat-like tang like lemon, and a touch of yeast. Delicate floral apricot scents dance around the sweet malts and suggest that this will be a very well-balanced brew. The taste confirms this, sweet and malty, with a bit more apricot on the palate. The wheat qualities stand side by side with the lovely fruity apricot. I think an unfiltered wheat might actually have masked the fairly gentle aromatic apricot with it’s punchy citrus and banana flavours, but in this case, the touch of bright lemon adds a bit of tartness and depth to the flowery apricots. The mouth feel is quite creamy, but with a very bright carbonation. Much like you would expect from a wheat beer. The finish is all apricots, with just a touch of the tart wheat lingering. A super refreshing beer, and one I used to drink litres of while I worked at Le Select Bistro. Admittedly, I’m not a huge drinker of fruit beers, and this isn’t my go-to McAuslan beer, but it is a wonderful beer for hot-weather sipping, and would go amazing with a grilled piece of fish or a fresh salad of lovely things you bought at the farmer’s market (you are shopping at a farmer’s market, right?). I know people who claim that this beer tastes synthetic to them. I’ve never gotten that, but taste is subjective, so who am I to say they’re wrong? “Flavour” is listed in the ingredients, which I suppose could be artificial, but I’m doubtful. It seems outside of McAuslan’s M.O. to use fake fruit. Obviously I like it; what do you think?
About the Brewery
The brewery launched its first beer in February 1989. St-Ambroise Pale Ale was an immediate success. Its distinctive hoppy-ness and clear reddish hue set it apart and gained it an instant following. Shortly after, McAuslan Brewing became the first micro-brewery to offer its product in bottles.