Flying Fish Brewing
The route from Cape May to Somerdale follows the Garden State Parkway north to the Atlantic City Expressway and then northwest toward Philadelphia. I know two things: one needs food to taste beers–and drive–safely, and production breweries in New Jersey are not permitted to serve food, but most encourage you to bring food in. Ah, but I know one more thing: Atlantic City has some of the best subs in the world, specifically from White House subs, which has been turning them out since 1946.
A detour into the city and a stop was simply required, then on to Somerdale and the largest craft brewery in New Jersey.
So I mentioned that the subs are the best . . . did I mention they are also some of the largest? Here is my first flight with HALF of a White House sub. Notice that there is more meat than roll in these. Damn, I just made myself hungry just thinking about this!
Oh, right, the beer!
Farmhouse Summer Ale
Clear straw in the glass with a medium white head. Starts with a cracker malt nose with a touch of noble hops. The flavor is straightforward ale with an earthy hint but mostly malt, finishing up with a nice little hop bite. It’s an ale that could fool a pilsner fan, perhaps ideal for luring in an uneducated macro fan. 4.9% ABV
Pours clear amber darkened by chestnut highlights with a medium white head. It has a light spice aroma over bakery malt and then comes red fruit like a hint of raspberry or cherry. On the palate comes rich complex malts with plenty of fruitiness and a hop sparkle drying the finish out sharply. Nice stuff! I picked up a half growler of this. 7.0% ABV
Amber, also clear with a medium white head. Clarity seems to be a hallmark of Flying Fish. The aroma starts with some cat pee hops with biscuit malt and stone fruit. On the palate this is a hoppy one, citrus & pine. There’s good malt underneath, mostly masked. Light caramel emerges on the finish playing tag with the hops. 9.0% ABV
Cuervo Barrel Saison
A slightly hazy golden glass with a generous off white head. There is a sour fruit nose without funk, and with biscuit malt. The flavor is not sour but rather malty and fruity replaced immediately by the tequila. There’s an earth-fruity note, if that makes sense, perhaps from the agave. (I wonder if any nectar was used.) The finish is smooth and long with a smoky hint creeping in, perhaps from the barrel. 7.0% ABV – Outstanding. I wish I could have gotten a growler of this!
ESB Amber Ale
It’s just as amber as it should be with a medium white head. The aroma is straight malt with hints of toffee and earthy hops. On the palate…now that’s an ale! Bakery malt with notes of sweetness & hops. It’s a short finish but that just calls for another pint! 5.9% ABV
Pours dark chestnut amber with a medium white head. The aroma is Belgian yeasty with an estery banana profile. On the palate that aroma expands with ample biscuit malt, rather full body and slight effervescence. The finish goes back to the esters. Somehow this is almost more Belgian than a Belgian. 7.2% ABV
A golden glass with a medium white head, crystal clear again, then the nose is hop spicy with yeasty elements over good malt. The full body delivers palate-coating toffee, fruit and spice. That spiciness builds into a long finish and citrus peel hops come in, showing this is indeed an American–rather than Belgian–Tripel. I’ve had this one before and I like it! 9.5% ABV
Pours very dark brown with a tan head. The aroma is of roast grain and dark chocolate with a hint of coffee and…a tiny salt tang? The flavor recaps the nose with a more distinct salt tang, not like a Gose but more like lightly salted chocolate. There could be shellfish but I’m looking for that. The finish is long, lightly roasty, lightly mocha, lightly salty adding up to a substantial finish. 8.2% ABV
I bought a variety pack of four exits from the New Jersey Turnpike. Each of the series is loosely associated with something in the area of the exit. So Exit 1 is near the Delaware Bay, thus Bayshore Oyster. Well Exit 16 is near the Meadowlands, known for the Giants and the Jets, but also associated with wild rice, and thus:
Golden amber with generous off white head. Hops from a foot away, melon and citrus mostly masking biscuit malt. Earthy malty melon flavor, medium body, leading into almost piney bitterness with citrus zest. Moderate hoppy finish. A bit sneaky strong, 8.2% ABV and doesn’t feel like it.