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Beer #39 – February 8, 2010: Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve

February 8, 2010

Beer: Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve

Brewery: Flying Fish Brewing Company, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Style: Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Price: $7.99 / 6-pack

Availability: Winter seasonal

Glassware: White wine glass

Strength: 7.2% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Nice sparkling aperitif, like a champagne.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a golden rich apple juice color with a thin fizzy white head and visible carbonation rising to the surface of the glass.

Aroma: Mild aroma, perfume-like, green apple and honeysuckle.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick with a big bubbly carbonation that contrasts the thickness.

Taste: This one starts with thick and sweet, light fruit flavors of Fuji apple, green grape, and peach, much like a late-harvest Riesling.  The sweetness fades into an oaky, spicy (clove and peppercorns), drying middle where the carbonation builds and adds to the drying effect. This is all followed by a mild funky and yeasty finish.  As the beer warms, the sweetness becomes less pronounced, and the spicy, earthy flavors move forward.

Pairing: Much like a champagne, this beer is a great aperitif all on its own, or with light appetizers (think chilled shrimp, smoked salmon, spanakopita).

Trivia: I’m ashamed to say it has taken me 39 beers before reviewing a beer from my current home state of New Jersey, but I will certainly be including more NJ beers in the coming days and weeks.

While today the Garden State has over a dozen microbreweries and brewpubs (along with an Anheuser-Busch brewery next to Newark Airport), it was once home to several ground-breaking but now defunct breweries.  Krueger, which once called Newark home, was the first brewery to put beer in cans 75 years ago (though it took many years before truly catching on).  Ballantine brewed an oak-aged IPA years before the microbrewery movement revived this historic style.  And while Pabst did not start in New Jersey, they brewed here for years, with a 60-foot tall beer bottle of PBR visible to travelers along the Garden State Parkway.

To learn more about currently operating breweries and brewpubs in New Jersey, visit the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild website at

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