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

HALLELUJAH!

HALLELUJAH!

HALLELUJAH!

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.


Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

March 8, 2012

When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, Brooklyn was always a Borough Too Far. My dad worked in Manhattan (he even had an office in the Empire State Building for a few years) so I went to the ‘City’ (as we called it) every so often, and when I got older, it was always Manhattan I went to for record buying or weed scoring expeditions. Bronx is the home of the Yankees and Queens is the home of the Mets, and as my grandfather was a big baseball fan, he’d take me to those boroughs to see games. Even lowly Staten Island got a visit now and then via a trip on the Staten Island Ferry (Still the best tourist bargain in America. How can you beat a free boat ride through New York Harbor?). But Brooklyn was the one borough I never really visited. There were no baseball teams, the Dodgers having left for Los Angeles long before I was born. My dad did not work there. The Ferry did not go there. And while I am sure I could have scored some sweet records and good weed in Brooklyn, I had to pass through Manhattan to get there, where I could score the same, so why bother?

Consequently, I never got to know Brooklyn well, and even in recent years, when Brooklyn became the epicenter of hipster culture, making the formerly decrepit neighborhoods of the borough must visit places if you wanted to see certain bands, I tried to limit my time there. I found it too easy to end up in the wrong neighborhood, and just never felt as comfortable there as I did in Manhattan. I tried to remedy that by taking a few bike tours around Brooklyn with the Vinman, but  we got hopelessly lost each time, which confirmed my impulse to avoid the borough.

I may avoid going to Brooklyn, but I don’t avoid the beers from Brooklyn Brewery. (Holy Cow, that transition was smoooooooooooooth!) Brooklyn Brewing is one of the more consistent brewers out there, always turning out quality beers. The East India Pale Ale is no exception to that rule. Sweet maltiness is offset by a mild and pleasant bitterness and a crisp, clean and dry finish. This is not a hop bomb IPA, but is a well rounded, refreshing, and easy drinking beer, 7/10.


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