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!