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Hailed as Flying Fish's flagship beer, this ESB is delicately brewed with an aesthetic harmony of Two-Row Pale, Caramel 20, medium crystal, chocolate, and Munich malts. Gene balances his ale nicely with a combination of Magnum, Fuggles, and Yakima Goldings hops in three additions throughout the boil, utilizing Magnum and Fuggles primarily for bittering and the Goldings for their aromatic contributions. Our panel found a hint of malty sweetness up front, while it finished with a pleasant hop bitterness. Look for a spicy, earthy hop nose with traces of caramel evident in this filtered, copper colored ale. Overall, an extremely well-balanced interpretation of a classic English Extra Special Bitter.
It seems as though Gene Muller, founder of the Flying Fish Brewing Company took a cue from New Jersey’s state motto of “liberty and prosperity”. Gene veered from the traditional plan of small business development and ran with new age dynamics by posting details about his brewery in the making on the Web with over a year to go before the brew house even opened its doors.At first glance one would think of this as foolhardy, giving away your secret plans on the Web! Au contraire! The creation of this virtual meeting ground allowed cyber fans from around the globe a glimpse at life behind the taps in addition to the plethora of minutia that would eventually transform itself into a microbrewery. Ingenuity is often cited as the devil’s volleyball and this creative plan allowed Gene a bird’s eye view into the mind of many a dedicated beer lover. This also berthed a unique online opportunity in assisting Gene with the development of the brewery by soliciting input on brewing techniques as well as what styles of beers individuals liked and disliked.This revolutionary Pied Piper of beerdom also gave his soon to be customers the dubious honor of designing the breweries t-shirts and labels! Heck, he even gave them an opportunity to name the up and coming beers- can you imagine walking into a brewery and ordering up a tasty sensation that you had the honor of naming? Now that is a wicked new spin on commission for a job well done!As a just reward for their diligent efforts, Gene assured his Internet labor regime that once the doors opened, they would be the first to delight in the pioneering efforts of the brewery. Rest assured this plan was well thought out as Gene had a few thousand thirsty patrons waiting for the much-anticipated day of reckoning. This day finally arrived in late 1996, at which time he cast off over 4,000 e-mail invitations for the grand opening in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which is merely a hoppy stagger away from Philadelphia.The only bad luck that week was brewing outdoors with a hurricane hitting two days before the opening. There must have been a few postal workers on the list as approximately 200 diehards arrived at the celebratory event anyway. They came from Long Island, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. They wanted to see the brewery; they felt a part of it. One taster even applied for a job as a brewer. It was the birth of the brewery, right on the Web, a virtual microbrewery. There is no telling what one would do for the love of beer and we are sure that many of you have quite the “fish” tale to tell in regard to your own experiences.Muller, who began his formal working career as a copywriter for ad firms, refined his expert craftsmanship at Chicago's Siebel Institute of Technology, America's oldest brewing school. If you only knew this school existed when you were choosing schools…Imagine the frat parties! A fellow schoolmate of Genes at Siebel was none other than Brad Coors, whose family's brewery, Muller wryly notes, is "just a little bit bigger than ours." Flying Fish now holds the title of being the largest craft brewery in New Jersey and basks in its ability to create four rotating seasonals as well as four year-round brews.Flying Fish beers remained on track with being on the forefront, as they were the first in the region to be featured at the Oregon Brewers Festival, the Great British Beer Festival, and Mondial de la Biere in Montreal, Canada. They have also won several awards at the Real Ale Festival in Chicago, the World Beer Championships and are the only New Jersey brewery featured in the book entitled Best American Beers.For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (856) 489-0061 or check out their web site at www.flyingfish.com.
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