Tasting: November 14, 2012
Style: Imperial IPA (Rice)
Exit 16 Wild Rice
Admittedly — you can read my life by the t-shirts I wear (vacations, special events and beer dominate). Once, I had tickets to fly on a vintage WWII bomber. My wife went on the flight, I stayed on the ground and bought a t-shirt depicting the bomber. My wife ridiculed me because I didn’t go on the flight – yet I rationalized that I did SEE the plane. Another T-shirt of mine was from Flying Fish. After trying their beer for the first time at the New Jersey Beer Festival at Waterloo Village back in the late 1990s, the T-shirt from the same booth was a must have. I loved that shirt so much that before I was finally coerced to committing it to the rag pile, I had to have a replacement in hand.
I haven’t had anything from Flying Fish is some time and it’s about time I checked back in on their progress. They hail from Cherry Hill, New Jersey and sport the 100% New Jersey attitude with their service mark, “Proudly Brewed in New Jersey.” You Got a Problem With That? Love it.
A few years ago, Flying Fish set out to produce a big bottle series dedicated to the surroundings of the exits on the NJ Turnpike. There are currently eight beers in the series and this is the fourth release from that series.
From their own website: Although usually identified with landfills and pipelines, the Hackensack Meadowlands is an amazingly diverse ecosystem providing vital animal and plant habitat. In a nod to a once common food plant here, we’ve brewed this beer with wild rice. We also added organic brown and white rice. Rice helps the beer ferment dry to better showcase the five different hops we added.
Pours a lot lighter in color than I expected. My first impression is that it’s subdued in flavor for what is called a double IPA — but it does deliver on the advertised crisp finish. Pilsner-type sweetness breezes by your palate and the citric hops with a little spicy pepper are the main event. The grains do draw your attention — cracker-like. To me, they make the aftertaste is a bit funky. It’s light in body – surprising for an 8.2% ABV. All in all I can see sipping on these while tailgating at Giants Stadium (Exit 16 W). I’ll put it at a solid 86 points.
If you are curious, here are the eight beers in the series in order of their release:
# 1: Exit 4 – Belgian Tripel. Flying Fish’s exit on the turnpike and since they consider themselves a Belgian-style brewery they wanted to pay tribute to themselves with a Belgian-style ale.
# 2: Exit 11 – Hoppy American Wheat. Exit 11 is where the NJ Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway meet. It’s a summer style for those “downa shore.”
# 3: Exit 1 – Bayshore Oyster Stout. The southwest Delaware Bay shore was the oyster capital of New Jersey, which by the way are making a comeback. Made with (what else but) real oysters.
# 4. Exit 16 – Wild Rice Double IPA. Read above, I toldja all bout it.”
# 5. Exit 6 – Wallonian Rye. This area of Burlington County was settled by the Wallonians – Not from Wallington but from Belgium. Since Belgians farm and drink beer, this one is a Belgian-style made with local rye.
# 6. Exit 13 – Chocolate Stout. I know exit 13 well – Port Newark. I worked a few summers with my dad at BP in Port Newark. Since it’s the entry way for many goods, they’ve decided to pay tribute to chocolate. Not sure how much chocolate passes through the port. All I saw was cars — lots and lots of cars.
# 7. Exit 9 – Hoppy Scarlet Ale. Rutgers exit and they are known as the Scarlet Knights – ergo a red ale.
# 8. Exit 8 – Chestnut Brown Ale. Farm belt. This uses a lost local ingredient – chestnuts. Can’t say I’ve ever had a chestnut in my life.