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Flying FIsh Brewing Company - Flying Fish ESB

Flying FIsh Brewing Company - Flying Fish ESB

Beer Club featured in U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Flying FIsh Brewing Company - Flying Fish ESB

  • ABV:

  • Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):

  • Serving Temperature:

    40-45° F
Flying Fish's Extra Special Bitter (ESB) is their flagship beer. World renowned beer critic and writer Michael Jackson (not the one with Llamas in his yard) wrote, "assertive, very drinkable...nice balance...I could sink quite a few pints of that." About the beer's name, Muller is quick to explain that bitter is not meant to be taken literally. Rather, it is a British colloquialism to describe the national drink of England. "What the Americans call Pale Ale", Gene says, "the British call bitters." This bad boy won Grand Champion at the 2000 United States Beer Tasting Championships in Chicago.

This ESB has quite a complex malt profile, including two-row pale, pilsner, caramel 60, Belgian caramunich, Belgian munich and Belgian Aromatic malts. Gene hops it up with magnum, Fuggles and goldings hops. We found the nose to be earthy with floral and spicy hop characters evident. Note a hint of caramel maltiness as well in this lightly filtered, copper colored ale. Our panel found the flavor to begin with a malty sweetness that moves into a pleasant hop bitterness. The finish is a dry hoppy one which we all enjoyed very much. Overall, an extremely well balanced interpretation of a classic English style. On a side note, since this beer is only lightly filtered, you may find a small amount of yeast in the bottom of the bottle. Don't sweat it. It's normal. Just let the beer settle and give it a gentle pour.
Founder of the Flying Fish Brewing Co., Gene Muller, took a serious deviation from the standard course of small business development when he built the Flying Fish brewing company. A year prior to the brewery opening, Muller posted details about it on the Web, letting people go behind the taps and see the myriad details that would eventually coalesce into a microbrewery. He also gave beer lovers an on-line chance to roll up their cyber-sleeves and help build the brewery, sequestering their input on such matters as what kinds of beer they liked and disliked, as well as which brewing techniques they preferred. He let them design T-shirts and labels. In fact, he even let them name the beers. How fun would that be? You could walk in and order a beer you named! I'm thinkin' Old Spotted Brown Dog Turbo Special Bitter Ale! Or how about Howler Monkey Jungle Juice Stout?

Additionally, Gene promised his electronic labor force that once the brewery opened, they'd be the first to sample the line up. When that time came in late 1996, he sent out some 4,000 e-mail invitations to the brewery's opening in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, just a swagger, skip and stagger away from Philadelphia. "A hurricane hit two days before the opening,'' Muller recalled. Bad Luck. "But still, about 200 people showed up. They came from Virginia, Long Island, 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."

Muller, who formerly worked as a copywriter for ad firms, studied brewing at Chicago's Siebel Institute of Technology, America's oldest brewing school. One of his classmates was Brad Coors, whose family's brewery, Muller notes wryly, is "just a little bit bigger than ours." Yeah, but he apparently didn't learn anything about making a beer that can be differentiated from say…carbonated Yak drool. Forget the Yak Drool visual you now have and flash forward three years. Flying Fish is now the largest craft brewery in New Jersey. It makes four year-round brews in addition to four rotating seasonals.

For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (489) 489-0061 or check out their web site at www.flyingfish.com.
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