Thanks to Henry Lapka for bringing this beer from Ann Arbor this weekend. He came up to see what everything was about, as I was the second person (that I know of) of our graduating class to move to Michigan. Tasted on Sunday evening after spending an hour or two reading "Animal Vegetable Miracle" on a grassy knoll on Hopes College's campus.
The first beer I've had from Arbor Brewing...
Appearance: Glowing orange in color with a touch of amber. Quite cloudy, but rounded and full looking. Little carbonation can be seen within. The head was abut 1/2" at first, but retention was minimal and the foam dissipated quickly into a thin white ring around the perimeter of the glass.
Aroma: Malt undertones of fruit and caramel are prominent up front. More specifically apricots and hop resins of pine origin. Some notes of yeast are present. As the beer warms, the malt base and some of the pine become more fragrant.
Taste: Sweet caramel and biscuit malt caress the palate, followed immediately by a pine and grapefruit complexity which together, enforces a rather attractive fruitiness. The apricots are likewise present, so to are sweet orange peel and hints of mango. Some alcohol can be sensed in the back of the throat, as this helps to thrust the hop bitterness into more of a desired warm fruit taste. The end is still sweet and piney, while the aftertaste is left with a caramel malt flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium to heavier bodied with an evenly distributed carbonation that eventually foams up in the back of the mouth, bringing a finale to flavor. Effervescent and smooth, but without forgetting the refreshing character provided by the hops.
Overall Impression: More of a sweeter IPA. Think more on the Victory Hop Devil side of the spectrum than the light tropical Bear Republic Racer 5 end. Awesomely complex and enticingly sweet and bitter. Apricot, Pine, Fruit biscuit and caramel are present throughout, and give the drinker an opportunity to draw out a preferred element and enjoy it. Cheers!