Beer Review 0060: Flying Fish Belgian Style Dubbel

The world’s first virtual microbrewery? That’s what was created in 1995 when Gene Muller launched Flying Fish Brewing Company. And the virtual brewery quickly led to something tangible.

Muller started a simple website that was a resource detailing all the ins and outs of everything needed to begin a microbrewery. Positive press coverage allowed for a good amount of feedback, eventually leading to investors and brewers wanting to make the magic happen — for real.

Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Flying Fish is the largest craft brewery in the state, churning out four year-round styles. Belgian Style Dubbel is what we’re looking at today.

Flying Fish attempts to take a balanced approach to beer-making; in today’s world of insane amounts of hops, it’s quite a relief to find a brewery not just trying to blow out your tastebuds with mega amounts of bitterness. This company believes beer to be equal to and even superior than wine in terms of complexity and food pairings, a belief shared by this website. So yes, this is serious stuff!

Belgian Style Dubbel is advertised as more like a wine than beer, with an almondy dry finish and an alcohol warmth (7% alcohol by volume here). They suggest pairing it with almost anything, but specifically say to try it with smoked cheeses and sausages.

The pour unveiled a dark caramel brown beverage that had amber highlights, topped with a disappointing small head that vanished nearly as soon as the pour was complete. The body was generally clear but did have some light sediment floating around the bottom of the glass. This beer was also less than stellar when it came to lacing; there wasn’t any.

The first thing that strikes the nose is the balance of the beer — hops, malts and yeast are in perfect harmony, just the right amount of each. My nose detected a dominant orange and sweet bread aroma, with background notes of lemon and a hint of alcohol, which lent the scent a smattering of spice. This smelled like a classic Belgian beer, without question.

Upon tasting, I picked up spicy orange initially, followed by a toasty malt kick in the middle of the sample. On the finish, there’s a very brief hit of cookie dough, which transitions into an overall sweetness and then the almond definitely comes out — Flying Fish weren’t kidding. Think roasted almond, with no salt, not a wasabi almond or anything like that. The finish is long, accented in the beginning with a fair amount of carbonation as it goes down.

Flying Fish have made a winner with their Belgian Style Dubbel. Not only did they achieve the goals and met every description point with this drink — right down to the almonds on the finish — but they have made a beer that is a wonderful example of a Belgian Dubbel. This is a high quality beer and I will return to try other Flying Fish offerings, if this is any indication of what awaits.

If you poured this in a glass and said it came from New Jersey, people wouldn’t believe you. That is, unless they’re previously aware of Flying Fish!

Flying Fish Belgian Style Dubbel, 91 points. Price: $1.79 US for one twelve ounce bottle.


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