Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flying Fish Exit 16 - Hop Heads Rejoice

Wifey and I go to at least three "beerfests" each year and consequently we drink more craft beer than macro-brews anymore. Cherry Hill, NJ (local to me) based Flying Fish brewery's beers fill most of my pint glasses, especially since they stated making their Exit Series beers. As a Jersey native, I love the concept of the exit series: "a multi-year brewing experiment to brew a series of beers as diverse as the great state of New Jersey. These big beers–in size as well as flavor–will celebrate each exit of the state-long artery that connects us." Flying Fish brews one batch of each beer and releases them in wine sized (750ml, 25.9oz) bottles and that's it. Well, it was supposed to be it, but Flying Flying fish recently re-released the first one, Exit 4 (an American Trippel and Flying Fish's nearest exit), in 12oz bottles (nice). There's no word on if Exit 11 (Hoppy American wheat and the best beer I've ever had) or Exit 1 (Bayshore Oyster Stout and brewed with 100 NJ oysters), will also see the 12oz treatment. Please guys, more Exit 11.
The liquor store near us Canals of Berlin received their shipment of the fourth and newest release, Exit 16 (Wild Rice Double IPA), today and we bought some to try. The Exit 16 website gives the brewers notes:
"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, as well as pils and pale malts.
'Rice helps the beer ferment dry to better showcase the five different hops we added. Lots and lots of them. We then dry-hopped this Double IPA with even more-generous additions of Chinook and Citra hops to create a nose that hints at tangerine, mango, papaya and pine. This beer pairs extremely well with spicy foods and all kinds of seafood. And of course, it's quite enjoyable all by itself."

All the rice and hops yield a formidable beer at 8.4% alcohol by volume. The beer carries a deep straw color typical of an IPA. For a beer with a higher ABV the head holds nicely. The aroma hints of citrus and light tropical fruits. The citrus continues through to the taste, but only for a moment; then the hops takeover. After a second or two on the tongue the beer gets really bitter, but that's expected from a double IPA, and the bitterness lasts for a looooong finish. While double IPAs aren't my cup of tea, Exit 16 is a really good beer.