|Hi Oberon, I'm Fretzy's. Have we met?|
It took me about 10 seconds to recognize what was going on here.
Fretzy's is as close to Oberon as Matt Berninger of The National is to our saint and samaritan, Steven Morrissey. That is to say, there are VERY overt similarities in profile, a massive harvest of inspiration, and, not only the same genre, but almost an entire album of cover songs in bright-eyed tribute.
But let me analyze this from a different perspective: As a standalone, Fretzy's is truly a phenomenal beer; wheaty, grainy, floral, and citrusy -- the marking of a genuinely inspired Unfiltered Wheat Ale. Its pours extremely hard, demonstrated by the beer-float froth sculpted like the coiffed pompadour of our beloved Mozza himself. Oranges and hay (Melissa said "hay"; I was truly proud) and bread yeast were the stars. I was really fucking enjoyed this, I said to Melissa, this tasted just* like Oberon!
(*hasty superlative, but "just" meaning -- hey! shit! this is a great clone!)
Despite all that, this is not bad for a start-up brewery in a dearth'ed beer burg like the Phoenix Metro. I did a bit of research on the malts Phoenix Ale Brewing uses to make this beer, and as it turns out, Fretzy's is made with 2-Row malts. Guess who else uses 2-Row malts. That's right: Morrissey.
Would there be The National without The Smiths? Probably not. But guess what? This is not graduate school. There are enough A's to go around for everyone -- and Fretzy's has certainly earned excellent marks. Its a clone, sure, but its not like a home brew imitation. There is some very obvious skill and craft that went into making this beer. If there was no Oberon, this would probably be one of, if not the best, wheat beer I've ever tasted.
But, lo, its hard to dethrone a crown without dissension from the serfdom, and I'm a loyal follower to King Oberon. The Queen is Dead** they say! Long live the King! I guess Oberon is the King of Beers. Someone ought to trademark that.
(**Smiths pun alert)
Acquired: Beer trade from Arizona (Thanks Whit and Scott!)