Making their next exit of the NJ Turnpike, the Flying Fish beer bus rolls off at Exit 9 and into the campus of Rutgers University. In 1869, Rutgers beat Princeton in the first ever college football game. To differentiate the teams, Rutgers players wore scarlet hats and handkerchiefs which in 1900 became the school's official color and eventually led to their current nickname of the Scarlet Knights. To celebrate Rutgers' red heritage Casey and the boys made Exit 9 a "Hoppy Scarlet Ale" and they aren't kidding about either part. Exit 9 is hoppy and scarlet.
Exit 9 pours bright red with a slightly tan head that dissipates almost immediately. Hopped with four different hops (Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook, and Citra) Exit 9 smells amazing; floral and citrusy, it practically begs you to drink it. On the pallet, however, the hops pummel the tongue with bitterness. Rolling in at a staggering 9% ABV, Exit 9 makes no attempt to hide it's alcohol either. The first taste is bitter and hot. Fortunately Exit 9 aslo has a strong backup of malt which smooths out the bitterness before you finish your sip. I really enjoy pairing wine and beer with food and the side label of the Exit 9 bottle recommends paring with sharp cheddar cheese, which I did. WOW!!! I've never had a beer's flavor change so much. The beer is good on it's own, but for my money, I might never drink Exit 9 without cheddar again.
Overall, Exit 9 is a really good beer, but not for everyone. I liked it; friend Angel liked it; Pop and Wifey did not. But Pop did like it more with cheese.
P.S. Instead of my FF pint glass, I pulled out the Phillies glass since I plan on drinking Exit 9 when I watch the opening day game where one of these guys will be pitching.