Review Date 4/11/2013
If you’ve read my reviews of any of the Flying Fish Exit Series beers, you probably already know my opinion of the Jersey Turnpike. The exits are the best part about it, in that I’m glad to be off of it. Not only do they rape you with tolls, but unless you’ve got EZ-Pass (which you may well not if you are not a resident) they make you wait forever to steal your money.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, how about some chestnuts? OK, I’ll admit that that segue is a bit of a stretch, but then again I am talking about Flying Fish Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale today, a beer brewed with real New Jersey Chestnuts. To be fair, though I am once again no fan of the Jersey Turnpike, I am a fan of Flying Fish, and have been for almost 20 years now. I do admire their Exit series, too.
Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale is described as a “full-bodied Belgian-style brown ale” on the label. This is a beer of 8.3% alcohol by volume in strength; I picked up a 750 ML bottle in June of 2012 and enjoyed it in the fall of that year. I liked it enough to grab another that I’m sampling tonight. Each cost me $9.99 at Total Wine.
From the label:
The long-delayed eighth stop on our multi- year trip brings us to, coincidentally, Exit 8 and celebrates what puts the “Garden” in Garden State. Did you know that New Jersey has more than 9800 farms covering 790,000 acres? We’re in the top four nationally in blueberries, cranberries, spinach, peaches, bell peppers and head lettuce produced. Not bad for the most densely populated state. 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.
Flying Fish Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale pours to a dark brown color with a thick and creamy tan head formation and an alluring nutty dark malty nose. The base beer is supposed to be a Belgian brown in style, and I do get the dark nutty maltiness of such a beer at the first sip. The beer is lacking Belgian yeasty notes, though. There’s a hint of chocolate and perhaps licorice here, homey richness and sweetness, some light nutty smoothness that might be the chestnuts, though they don’t really stand out here. In the finish, some piney, spicy hops fade to a gentle bitterness and merge with the warming alcohol to attenuate the sweetness.
Overall, a very nice beer. Not really Belgian in character to my taste, and the chestnuts don’t seem to add a lot. Chestnuts, though, have a mild taste for sure and may be out of their league with the dark sweet malt going on. I happen to have a chestnut tree in my backyard and roast them each fall, I didn’t really pick up their sweet nuttiness here. In fact, the first time I enjoyed this beer I drank it with a few roasted chestnuts; it did go well with them.
Still, this is a tasty beer that I would buy again (and obviously did).
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.