Last Thursday members of the “Delaware Craft Beer and Wine” facebook group meet at Two Stones Pub for a tap take over from NJ brewers Flying Fish. The group turn out was good, with some frequent attendees making an appearance as well as some new faces. The crowd was lively and the place was ready to try some beers from Flying Fish.
Flying Fish from Camden NJ, caught my eye awhile ago by virtue of their “Exit” series. An ambitious multi-year project, the brewery hopes to brew a beer for each exit of the NJ turnpike. Each beer being its own distinct style based on something interesting from the area around the exit. I really wanted to try all these as they came out, but sadly I’ve been lax in keeping my eyes open for them. Being an “Exit 1” born and raised NJ boy, I of course had to try their Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout which I remember enjoying.
But tonight was all about their recent release, Exit 8 – their Chestnut Brown Ale. This was its Delaware premiere. Our state got two kegs, and guess who got’em? From the brewery:
To celebrate Exit 8, one of our big farming areas, we’ve brewed a beer that
uses a lost local ingredient: chestnuts–and a popular current one: local honey.
This full-bodied hybrid Belgian-style brown ale brings forward a nutty character
from the chestnuts, accented by the flavors of honey, roasted barley and oat
flakes. There’s a nice spiciness from the Mt. Rainier hops while Chinooks add a
touch of pine. Fuggles and Columbus round out the hop profile.
While we sipped it, much discussion ensued. I thought the beer was ok, but a little off to be a brown (maybe that’s where the term hybrid comes into play). I got hints of honey and spice in it, as well as something that probably was the chestnuts. It didn’t blow me away, but there was definitely enough there to warrant a focused revisit when I get my hands on a bottle (I’ll be fair to the brewery and post a better review when I do). As a matter of fact, I found most of the beers from Flying Fish solid but nothing extraordinary.
I went into the take over believing that Exit 4, their American Triple, is far and away the best beer they make. And nothing I had that night (Extra Pale, Farmhouse, ESB and Exit 8) changed that opinion. Exit 4 is simply awesome, with it citrus notes and hint of cloves. It won a Gold Medal at the 2009 at the GABF, and Flying Fish was smart enough to make it a year round offering. And luckily, it was on draft that night. Great stuff.
Another awesome event from the guys at Two Stones. I can’t wait to see who they’ve got coming in next.
Time for another beer.