Flying Fish- Exit 16

Flying Fish Brewing Co., Cherry Hill, NJ

Exit 16 – Wild Rice Double IPA. 8.2% ABV

“Rice helps the beer ferment dry to better showcase the 5 different hops we’ve added”.

I had originally tasted Exit 16 back when it was released around March 2010. Since this blog hadn’t existed back then, I wanted to add new thoughts to a previously written review.

I’ll just be up front and say that Exit 16 is one of my favorite beers of 2010!  This beer is simply amazing, with one major caveat which I’ll touch on shortly.

Pouring slightly hazy with a honey-like golden color, there’s plenty of aggressive carbonation that created a thick, tall and foamy head.

The aroma is strong with lots of tropical and citrus fruits such as grapefruit and mango with a bit of papaya and pine. A very appetizing aroma.

Here is where this review will have to diverge and talk about 2 different versions of this beer.

Luckily, I had been able to taste this beer from numerous bottles from April through last night, because the dichotomy that exists is nothing short of staggering.

The first iteration of this beer was back in March and April when it was fresh. Both the aroma and flavor were boldly focused on the citrus and tropical fruit notes. The citrus flavors arrived full-on at the beginning of each mouthful and stayed through the finish leaving a deliciously subtle aftertaste that almost begged for a follow up sip. While not too complex, the fruits that I noticed in the aroma were also present in the flavor; including grapefruit, mango and papaya. There were also slight hints of lemon and pine in the background. There was also barely any bitterness present. The flavor was so bright and dry, kind of like a good champagne or white wine. It was also one of the most drinkable beers in a long time. In early May, 2 bottles were shared between 7 people all with different beer tastes. Every person raved at how good this was.

The second version of Exit 16 was more than four months after the first tasting. It was last night. While still a very good Double IPA, those four months definitely hurts this release. The fruity and floral hop flavors are the first to fade in IPAs and Double IPAs. Now, there are still citrus notes, but they have faded quite a bit resulting in more of a pine flavor profile. There is also a higher level of bitterness than before. There is also a bit of an alcohol bite now that wasn’t present. It’s still a good Double IPA, it’s just not the same beer that was tasted in April and May.  Either way, the mouth-feel is the same with good body and equally good drinkability.

Set to be a limited release, Exit 16 is absolutely amazing when it’s fresh. Let’s say- the fresher the better. I sure hope Flying Fish made enough money and received enough positive feedback to add this to their permanent rotation. I would love to be able to enjoy this every spring.

Exit 16 would be a good transition beer for anyone who enjoys champagne or wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Final Score: Solid “A” when fresh.  Awesome!

Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Beer Tasting Event Tomorrow 4pm: Phillips Wine Store, Stockton NJ

Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this event. I’ve never visited Phillips Wine Store, but for anyone who may be interested, all three breweries have produced some excellent brews.

Chatoe Rogue First Growth OREgasmic Ale: From Oregon this orange-amber colored ale has malty aromas, spicy fruit hop flavor and a solid malt background with a lingering finish!

Southern Tier Farmer’s Tan Pale Lager: From New York State, our tribute to all who must work outdoors under the hot sun on these long summer days!

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Pott’s Landbier: From Boston comes a collaboration with their friends at Pott’s Braueri in Oelde, Germany a amber-hued lager with a smooth body and spicy hop character.

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm  Comments (1)  

The Holy Grail is in Chicago?

Hi Folks!
Sorry for the week long positing delay. Took the family on a driving trip to Northern Wisconsin by way of Chicago. We left on Saturday the 10th, and returned on Saturday the 17th.
Luckily, my wife and I both have family in Chicago.

We stopped over for a couple of days and one high point of the vacation was visiting a chain Mega-Wine-Beer-Spirits-Mart in Chicago named Binny’s. They are huge stores and have aisles upon aisles of alcoholic beverages. They also have gourmet food, glassware and a cigar humidor. Pretty fantastic! I was envious that we don’t have anything like that here in PA. Pennsylvania’s liquor laws are so archaic- like the Dark Ages. But that’s a post for another day.

So, courtesy of Steve, I was able to steal a couple of hours for a shopping spree to try to locate Craft Beer that is unavailable in Pennsylvania. Needless to say, I was very successful. Equally successful was a recommended (thanks, Marge!) second trip to another Binny’s location to fill in the gaps left from the first store. Apparently, some products are so popular; it’s difficult to keep them on the shelves.

Many bottles were purchased, and I’m not sure how they made their way back to my house in Pennsylvania. They just appeared there when I returned… *wink*.

The two “Holy Grail” breweries were Three Floyds and Goose Island. I hit the mother-load, and between the two locations, was able to pick up almost everything they currently have available. Not counting, their rarities, which are… rare.

In addition to Three Floyds and Goose Island, there were other things that I had heard of but never seen, as well as items that were priced so low, I couldn’t leave without them. Much success was had.

As you look at the following “graphic photo”, please be aware that it’s not all for my personal consumption. Some people had offered to chip-in for some items, other bottles will be gifts and some will go into my Beer Cellar. Whatever is left… is Mine!

While not for the faint-of-heart, here is the photo of the results of the spree. There is also a list.

You have been warned:

Trappist Rochefort 8 (2x) and 10 (2x)
New Holland Brewery:
-Pilgrim’s Dole
-Imperial Hatter
-el Mole Ocho
-Dragon’s Milk
-Night Tripper
Three Floyds:
-Gorch Fock (3x)
-Apocalypse Cow
-Robert the Bruce (6x)
-Pride and Joy (6x)
-Alpha King (6x)
-Gumball head (6x)
-The Czar
-The Reverend
-The Beast
He’Brew: Jewbilation
Goose Island:
-Fleur (2x)
-Bourbon County (3x)
-Night Stalker (2x)
-Belgian Box Set (2x) -includes Sofie, Matilda and Pere Jacques
Dogfish Head: Sah’Tea

Again, a special thanks to Steve and Marge for their indispensable contributions, without which none of this would have been possible. I’d also like to thank…

Anyway, having returned, please look for upcoming reviews. Next up is Dogfish Head’s Sah’Tea, which was enjoyed in Wisconsin by a lake at sunset. Very appropriate.

Until next time, Thanks and see you soon!

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 9:37 pm  Comments (1)  

Belgian White Bottling Day

Tonight was the night we bottled our second batch of home-brewed beer. This batch was a Belgian White that was brewed almost three weeks ago.  Usually, a brewer would bottle the fermented beer after about two weeks, but work and life got in the way.  The process went much smoother than the first bottling night, which wasn’t bad to begin with.

Generally, there are two steps: clean and sanitize all of the equipment and bottles, then put the beer in the sanitized bottles. Preparation takes longer than the actual bottling process.

We ended up using six 32 oz. pop-top bottles, twelve 12 oz. pop-top bottles and eleven 22 oz. bottles that we had to cap by hand.

I think the total process tonight took less than two hours. Pretty good, and about a half-hour better than bottling our first batch.

As you can see in the photos, the fermented beer looks nasty in the fermenting bucket. The two brown rings above the liquid are globs of yeast that were deposited as the beer bubbled in the fermenter. Luckily, it smelled exactly the way it was supposed to.

As unpleasant as it looks, we’re expecting it to taste darn good. People often forget that beer “grows” from gas produced by the yeast eating the sugar. Quite like “liquid bread”.

I’ll probably crack the first bottle two weeks from today. Photos will be provided, along with an honest review of the finished product.

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm  Comments (2)  

Beer Review: Alesmith IPA

Alesmith Brewing Company.  San Diego, CA

Alesmith IPA.  7.25% ABV.  1pt. 6oz. bottle.

Served in a 16 oz. pint glass, and enjoyed on an evening when it’s 94 degrees at 7:30pm. Crazy!

I got an accidental whiff of this while pouring and it smells great. The color is deep golden, almost amber, with a dense, foamy, off-white head. There is plenty of carbonation in the glass.

The aroma is very nice: very hoppy, but mostly of the citrus varieties. There is just a hint of piney bitterness. Some malt in the aroma, as well.

The flavor is nice and refreshing for a hot day. Very big and bold flavors, but the flavor profile is different than the aroma led me to believe. A bit of citrus, but more of the pine variety of hops. It has some sweetness from the malt, which then takes a back seat to the bitter finish… nice! It’s also on the dry side. Pretty high on the bitterness scale. Definitely for “Hop Heads”, and not for the faint of heart.

Fantastic mouth is more medium to full-bodied. It’s definitely not watery. This is a really good IPA. I could enjoy this often, especially in the heat… very refreshing!

Final Score- A-

Published in: on July 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Brauwerij Van Steenberge – Augustijn Ale

Brauwerij Van Steenberge- Belgium

Augustijn Ale.     8% ABV.     11.2 oz. bottle.

Purchased at Whole Foods, Collegeville.

Hazy, honey-colored pour with very aggressive carbonation.  Thick, 1 ½” head was light with lacy foam and loose bubbles.  I’m surprised by the high amount of effervescence, curious to see how the mouth-feel will be.  Aroma has a lot of citrus and yeast with lots of bready malt.  Also has a hint of spice.

The flavor is very dry.  Belgian yeast dominates the flavor.  It still has hints of lemon and a little bit of orange.  Nice flavor, but doesn’t seem balanced… it’s a bit too dry to be a great Belgian.  The mouth-feel is bubbly, but not as much as I expected.  The body is on the lighter side.

Augustijn is decently drinkable, and would be a good summer beer.  There is a mild aftertaste that’s not entirely pleasant.  Augustijn isn’t bad, it’s just very average.

Total Score- B

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 11:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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