Flippin’ Bird Ale
One 16 oz draught, $?, 5%? ABV
Purchased at Sliders, West Hartford
Helloooo Elmwood! Whats! Up! For those of you not from the West Hartford, Newington, Frog Hollow, Parkville area, you probably have no idea where Elmwood is.
Or Frog Hollow or Parkville for that matter.
Elmwood is the section of West Hartford over there. Huh? Oh, that’s how we West Hartford people over here refer to Elmwood. Sorry… Elmwood is the southeastern quadrant of town, south of I-84, surrounding New Britain Avenue. It abuts Newington and Hartford.
And it’s going to explode in the next ten years – I’m telling you. As if West Hartford isn’t already an embarrassment of restaurant riches, Elmwood is starting to build up some go-to restaurants (Pepe’s Pizza, Goldberg’s Bagel Café, Sliders) in addition to the stalwarts (Cora-Cora, Thai Basil, Pho Boston, Corner Pug, Tapas – way better than the Bloomfield location). Just don’t give me East-West Grille, for they have failed me too many times now.
Sliders has a bunch of locations around these parts of the state, and they are known mostly for their buffalo wings. As well they should be; their wings are fantastic. If you like classic and true hot buffalo sauced wings, you can’t really do better than Sliders.
During West Hartford’s February vacation, I took Damian there for some coleslaw (the boy loves coleslaw),chicken, and USA Olympic hockey while I enjoyed some wings. In truth, I only took him here because I wanted a Flippin’ Bird Ale.
Flippin Bird Ale is handcrafted in small batches exclusively for Sliders restaurants at the Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield, CT. This dry hopped ale starts lightly bitter and nutty and progresses into a sweet malty finish. Its brown hue and maltyness comes from caramel and roasted malts.
As with all private label beers, this one says it is made “exclusively” for the restaurant. Until now, I’ve always been able to mock that and confidently say that the beer is just a year-round offering of the brewery it came from with a different name.
But this description is throwing me for a loop. No, not the misspelling of “maltiness,” which annoys the crap out of me, but the fact that it says that this beer is dry-hopped.
Now, this was certainly not a hoppy beer by any stretch and everything, from the bland aroma to the unexciting taste and finish just screamed “generic pale ale” to me, but this wasn’t the Hooker Blonde. (Oh, snap!) It was too dark and had more body and malt to it.
So is this, perhaps in its own way, one of the rarest Connecticut beer finds? A private label beer that is actually uniquely brewed for that private label?! It very well could be! Or it could be, say, oh I don’t know… Hooker’s no-longer offered American Pale Ale? Which is still maybe “exclusive” to Sliders, but not really anything new.
I could find out the entire truth behind the Flippin’ Bird Ale, but then you’d realize that I have one (or more) rather “inside” people at Hooker (which I do), but that diminishes some of the fun for me. And anyway, if Hooker told me, but doesn’t really want the world to know, I wouldn’t tell you anyway. Do you see how that works?
The beer is a good beer to have with a bunch of hot wings. It is not good for a rare bottle share or to impress the guy with the hipster beard and glasses. But that’s clearly not the point.
[Of course it’s not available in bottles, but Hooker is also home to another rare thing – the private label beer that ended up in year-round bottles. Yup, their Brutus Maximus was brewed exclusively (for real!) for Max Restaurants and I guess did well enough to graduate to readily available bottles at your local store. Which also proves that that beer WAS a wholly different beer as a private label. Big points for Hooker. But if this is simply the “old” American Pale Ale that I suspect it is, does that really count? If anything, it does count for ingenuity on the part of Hooker. Still curious about the “dry-hopped” descriptor though.]
Christ, it’s called “Flippin’ Bird Ale” already, so just go chow down some great hot wings and some of this beer and stop pretending that a Westy 12 is a better choice for that pairing and shut up already.
Mmmm, Westy 12…
Overall Rating: C
Rating vs. Similar style: n/a