What’s Your Exit?

NJTOLL  3 PIM  BROWNThis is a question you’ll get when you tell people you’re from New Jersey. That’s because the Garden State Turnpike runs through the most populous corridor of the state and what exit you live off of can say a lot about your heritage, your lifestyle, and even your income. Some folks in New Jersey take great pride in their exit of origin and are eager to answer this age-old New Jersey icebreaker.

A few weeks ago, Scott over at The Brew Club wrote about beers made in the Garden State and mentioned Flying Fish brewery. Being from New Jersey, I’m always looking to support our local craft breweries and realized I had overlooked Flying Fish. Well that was remedied this weekend when my buddy Frank brought over a big bottle of their Exit 11 American Wheat beer. It’s part of Flying Fish’s “Exit Series” of beers, each one celebrating what makes that particular exit of the Turnpike special. I told you we take our exits seriously in New Jersey! We poured a couple of glasses and decided to take this puppy for a spin…

photo-1Because each beer celebrates what makes an exit special, let’s learn a little bit about Exit 11, shall we? Exit 11 is where Bon Jovi lives. What’s more Jersey than that? Bon-freakin’-Jovi! It’s also where many travelers exit the Turnpike to head for the famous Jersey Shore. “The Shore” (or the Showah as we call it) was the inspiration for the Exit 11 brew, which is a bright wheat beer with citrus notes – perfect for summer fun in the sand.

The pour was a golden and opaque, with a thick, almost fuzzy head. The aroma was really hoppy, featuring the scent of grapefruit and an undercurrent of dried fruits. This beer smelled very bright and pleasant. Exit 11 hits the tongue with a heavy and sweet hop flavor, and fades with bitter grapefruit and a hint of apricot and a little warmth of alcohol. It was thin and light on the tongue and a generally refreshing beer. For those of you who can fuse tastes together in your head, Frank put it well when he said Exit 11 is like a lite combination of Victory Golden Monkey and Stone Arrogant Bastard.

Flying Fish really captured the essence of summer with this brew (and Exit 11, too). Playful, sweet and easy to drink, this is a really nice beer for a barbeque or a day spent trolling the boardwalk for babes with big hair. I like a good concept beer, but I like a good beer even better than that. Fortunately, the folks at Flying Fish have managed to do both here.

Now I’m eager to try their Exit 4 brew, which just won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Fest in the American-Belgo-Style Ale category. It’s named for the exit off the Turnpike where their brewery is located, in Mount Laurel Township. Actually, I might just pile a few friends into the car and head down there myself. All this Turnpike talk has put me in the mood for a good old-fashioned roadtrip.

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Categories: Beer

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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4 Comments on “What’s Your Exit?”

  1. September 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    Jim this post is awesome! What a great concept for a beer. And how better to celebrate your home state! Cool stuff!

  2. Jim
    September 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Not only a cool concept, they pulled it off. Take Exit 11 (the beer or the interchange) to the shore and prepare for summer fun!

  3. October 1, 2009 at 3:39 am #

    Nice review, and thanks for the mention!

    Hey – if you happen to find any Exit 4, PUHLEEEZE let me know! I can’t find it anywhere, and quite frankly I think I missed the boat on that one. I – want – to – try – it! Haven’t tried the Exit 11 yet, but I have it ready to go. I did however try their ‘Oktoberfish’ and it was quite good. Cheers!

    • Jim
      October 1, 2009 at 9:06 am #

      I’ll definately keep you in mind if I find any Exit 4. I think it’s going to be tough, but if there’s more than one I’ll grab a pair, one for me, one for you.

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