11/12/22: Fretboard Brewing Company's Fugee

6:37 AM

November is my favorite time for a beer. See, maple's my favorite beer adjunct. It's so versatile: it can bolster ABV, it can add sticky sweetness, or it can introduce a savory flavor. It's quintessentially North American and, for me, autumnal.



The trick is that November's a busy month in a good year. I participate annually in National Novel Writing Month (because I have a masochism streak, I guess). This year we have a newborn kicking around our home adding to the mix and I'm winding down my career with my current employer while prepping for what's to come next. 

But, Bright Eye's just released three EPs of new(ly recorded) tunes, there's a video game tournament happening this weekend that I'll be hopping in an out of as I can, and it's snowing. The baby and Michelle slept in a little. It'll be a good day. Let's see how Fretboard's Fugee fits into all of this.

Fretboard's a Blue Ash, OH brewery that, for the life of me, I can't find an "About" page for on their website. We can make due with their FAQ, though. The brewery, apart from making beer, is an active concert venue, welcoming bands and artists from the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country to their stage multiple times a week. They also have a BBQ joint on-site for people who have a hankering for some sweet smoked meats.

I also can't find a writeup on today's beer on Fretboard's website. There is this image from their "On Tap" page that lists Fugee as a 6.1% ABV "NUT BROWN ALE INFUSED WITH FRENCH TOAST FLAVORS." The imagery on the can's label leads me to think that french toast flavors include cinnamon and, you guessed it!, maple syrup.

Fugee's a beer I was introduced to via a message from a friend reading: "...the people request a review of Fretboard Fugee seasonal breakfast ale." I'm pleased to bring the following to that friend, and the people, now.

My initial waft from the ale's bouquet is damn delightful. I get the nuttiness of the base nut brown ale (hazelnut, namely) and some mild brown sugar malty notes. Beyond this, I find vanilla, cinnamon, sticky sweet maple syrup, powdered sugar, and some mild black coffee (which may or may not actual be something present in the nose--my mind could very well be placing this into the combination of Fugee's aromatic offerings). Honestly, this smells like French toast. Purrl isn't too here for it (cat's don't have a penchant for sweet things); she gave my can two quick whiffs.


The flavor profile here's a little more subdued than I'd expected given the bouquet. There's no sharpness, no black coffee-like bite (I guess my brain planted that scent in here for me). It tastes like a brown ale with some hazelnut and cinnamon. There's a little maple syrup mingling with the nut and spice in the finish (and outlasting the cinnamon), but this takes something of a backseat to what the rest of the beer has going on. It's still absolutely a breakfast ale and, especially important for our purposes, a maple beer. But the breakfast takes precedence.

Fugee's mouthfeel is mild, not something I'd describe as sharp or bitey, yet just sharp and bitey enough to maintain my interest and warrant another swig.

Michelle and I like to vacation in cabins. We pick some wooded area and find a place with a bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, indoor plumbing, and a firepit nestled out in the forest (bonus points for hot tub, but this in itself isn't an exact requirement). We go, we relax, we cook, and we refresh. It's so much better if there's not cellular reception so my work can't trouble me.

I tell you this, because I like to bring an assortment of beer on these trips. I go for brews with rich flavors that I can enjoy as I take time to unpack everything in the can or bottle. Fugee would be perfect for such a trip.

Okay, my friend and the people, here's my numeric score of Fretboard's Fugee: 9.5/10. It's a damn great beer. I wish only that the maple was a tad more prominent but that's a minor naggle. If anyone reading this needs such urging, go out and buy this beer while you can. 

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