Flying Fish 2009 Imperial Espresso Porter Premier
With the weather forecast calling for snow, sleet and ice, I made the trip to Flying Fish brewery in Cherry Hill, NJ Tuesday night to be one of the first to taste this year’s Imperial Espresso Porter. It was nothing short of delicious.
The special invitation-only email stated a “small tasting” but on this cold night, that was not quite the case. As I arrived with my wife Tamika, we found their small parking lot jammed with cars eventually found a makeshift parking space on the side of the building.
My hopes were that because of the forecast, many people would choose not to attend and it would be a quaint, personal evening with the folks we have come to love at Flying Fish. Boy was I wrong.
As we entered through the front door, the smell of malted barley and fermenting wort filled our lungs. People were scattered everywhere in the lobby/office area and we shoved through to the tasting room. This was even worse. After a few minutes of asking, “Is this where the line ends?” we stood patiently awaiting our taste of the smooth, roasty porter that was flowing like black gold from the tasting room tap.
Alas, it was our turn. We made it to the front of the line. We graciously let the Founder, Gene Muller, stamp our hand and he gave us each two orange 50-50 tickets. He said that the stamp on the hand was for your first beer and each ticket would get us a refill. Did I mention that these were full 8 ounce samples? Yum.
Now that I had reached the front, I decided I was not getting back into that line again and I stood there at the counter, sipping my porter and discussing some of my tasting notes with Gene. I asked him if they were expecting such a wonderful turnout to which he replied, “Offer free beer in this economy, and this is what you get.” Indeed, Gene. Indeed.
I chatted briefly with Andy, who head’s up Flying Fish sales and purchased a 4-pack to take home with me. I also poked my head into the brewery to say hello to head brewer Casey, who was busy answering questions and explaining their brewing system.
As we sipped our last sample and begun to head home, we noticed a very nice man in the lobby pouring cups of coffee to some of the guests. In my excitement to try this year’s batch, I had forgotten about the artisan coffee company, Crescent Moon Coffee was there to promote their Hedonistic Blend, the same blend of five different beans that is used in the porter we were enjoying. Tamika gave me the rest of her porter and she sampled a fresh cup of the coffee. We then scooped up a one-pound bag of whole beans for $10 and headed out, both sporting smiles from ear to ear.
Thank you Flying Fish and Crescent Moon for a fantastic, albeit crowded, Tuesday night of special beer and coffee.