Flying Fish Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale

April 13, 2012

Is this the best Brown Ale I have ever had? Yep, this is the best Brown Ale I have ever had. I know that sounds like I am damning with faint praise, as I am not a huge fan of Brown Ales, so let me go a little further: This is one of the best beers of 2012. Granted the year is young, but if I have many beers better than this one, it will be one hell of a year for beer.

Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale and Elk Steaks

Flying Fish is not available here in Texas, and it is one of the many things I miss about living in New Jersey (along with good pizza, WFMU, and the New Jersey Turnpike, the golden roadway of the East). I was lucky enough to secure a bottle of the recently released Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale in a trade with MZ, and all I can say is




This beer is really that damn good. Brewed with chestnuts and honey harvested in New Jersey, both of which are prominent in the aroma and the flavor, and which are balanced by the addition of Chinook hops and some nice warmth from the 8.3% ABV. I paired this with some elk steaks (one of the great things about living in Texas is that I have neighbors who hunt Elk, Moose, Bear, Wild Boar, Deer, etc. and they are quite happy to share their bounty with me) and it was an outstanding match. The Flying Fish Exit Series has been excellent from the get go, and this is a worthy addition to the roster, 9/10.

MZ also included a couple of bottles of the Exit 4 which I reviewed a few years ago. Not much to add to that review, just another outstanding beer from New Jersey’s finest brewery.

Flying Fish Exit 6 Wallonian Rye

July 10, 2010

I cracked open the Exit 6 Wallonian Rye Belgian Style Ale (named after the first Dutch* settlers in New Jersey), and it is another winner from New Jersey’s very own Flying Fish, and another in their Exit Series honoring the Golden Roadway of the East, The New Jersey Turnpike.  Using locally grown rye in the malts, the ale is hopped with East Kent Goldings, Slovenian Goldings and Japanese Sorachi Ace Hops.  The rye is prominent on your first sip, and the citrusy hops kick in subtly in the aftertaste.  This was the first beer I split with JPE and the V-Man last night (more reviews to come) and it started the night off in a grand fashion, 8/10. If Flying Fish keeps this up, they will soon be on the list of premier American craft brewers, if they are not already there.

*Go Netherlands!

Boak’s Double BW Belgian Wheat with Lemongrass

May 17, 2010

I will not claim that New Jersey is a hotbed of craft brewing.  It is certainly not like Oregon or Colorado, where every podunk town has a brewpub turning out quality brews, and every convenience store has a selection which brings tears of joy to my eyes.  However, whatever my home state lacks in quantity, it makes up for it in quality.  River Horse brews several excellent beers, and Flying Fish is doing it’s damnedest to be considered one of the elite brewers in the country.

Boaks Brewing, located in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, brews a few beers in small batches, and they distribute seems to be limited to Northern New Jersey throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, with plans to expand to Central Pennsylvania and Maryland.  I tried their “Double BW”* Belgian Wheat recently.  It poured a very cloudy and very pale orange, with a frothy head that quickly dissipated.  It was peppery and lemony and refreshingly tart after the long bike ride I had gone on.  Definitely an unusual beer, and while it was not cheap, but pair it up with some spicy Asian food, and it would be fantastic, 7/10.

*Per an email from Brian, the man behind Boak’s, the “Double BW” stands for “Brian’s Belgian Wild Wheat.”  Two Bs, Two Ws.  This beer clocks in at 4.2% ABV so it is not a ‘Double’ in the sense that the term is often used.

Titus Andronicus

May 7, 2010

Reasons that Titus Andronicus rock:

1.  They are from New Jersey.  That right there makes them something special.

2.  Their lyrics (“You never been no virgin, kid/You were fucked from the start”) have the right mix of humor and pathos.  It is worth the time to listen closely and decipher them.

3.  Titus Andronicus may be the most completely over the top band I have ever listened to, and also the most serious.

4.  Their last album, The Airing of Grievances, is excellent, and worth seeking out.

5.  Their new album, The Monitor, is a concept album about the U.S. Civil War, the first battle between ironclad ships (the Merrimac and the Monitor), and also the existential dread of living in suburban New Jersey in the 21st Century.  That combination should be a complete disaster, but TA pull it off.  The Monitor is without question the best album of 2010, and might be the best album since Kids in Philly by Marah.

6.  I have not seen them live yet, but every review says they are scorching in concert.

7.  They sound like Bruce Springsteen fronting the Ramones or Levon Helm backed by the Wooden Shjips, but those comparisons do not really do them justice.  They have songs that are ten minute punk rock riffs that never get boring, they quote speeches by Abraham Lincoln in between tracks, with their high school history teacher reading the speeches on the recordings, and they can drone on with the best of the post-rock bands and at the same time rip the most searing guitar hero rock god solos you can imagine.

8.  I love this band.

Flying Fish Exit 4 American Trippel

May 7, 2010

Back for another round with my Jersey guys, Flying Fish.  The Exit 4 American Trippel is the first of the Turnpike Exit Series to be sold in six packs, which makes some sense as the Exit 4 probably has the widest appeal to the masses, although I could see the Exit 16 having a similar commercial appeal to the general public.  This pours a hazy golden orange, with lots of fruity malts in the aroma and a creamy thick head.  Lots of yeast in the flavor, along with some fruity sweetness (banana and pear) and the hops bitterness is in the background, along with a hint of clovelike spiciness.  This drinks very easily, and at 9.7% ABV, that can be dangerous.  The Exit 4 American Trippel gets a 7.5/10, and if Flying Fish keeps this up, they will soon be part of the list of the elite American brewers, if they are not there already.

Roadside Graves interview and “Liv Tyler” video

April 29, 2010

Check out this Roadside Graves interview from SXSW. The interviewee is John Norris, formerly of MTV.  The clip includes the video for ‘Liv Tyler’ from the new Roadside Graves record.

More Music in Jersey City

April 20, 2010

Short clip of a saxophone player on Grove Street, on Monday morning shortly after 9:30 a.m.

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