Beer: Exit 4 American Trippel
Brewery: Flying Fish
Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s kitchen
Primary Consumer: Kerensa
Sight: Crisp golden/orange body filled with tiny rising carbonation bubbles. Very thin white head that ebbs instantly. A trace of lacing is left on the glass.
Scent: It smells like stumbling upon a grove of oranges and tulips. Pleasantly citrusy and floral, with a bit of bitter hops at the end.
Flavor: If I was doing a blind taste test, I would (mistakenly) identify this as an IPA, initially. As I get further into it, I do get a bit of the Tripel phenols-passing-as-bananas flavor, as well as the ubiquitous Belgian Abbey yeast funk. There’s a lingering tropical fruit-n-grass flavor at the end.
Feel: Thin-to-medium, and dry, mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation.
At the end of the day, there’s a Belgian Tripel in here; it’s just hidden under a pile of hops.
Concluding remarks: For those that are not well acquainted with New Jersey’s vast and wonderful state highway system, the beer’s moniker refers to Exit 4 off of the New Jersey Turnpike. Flying Fish began the “Exit Series” a number of years ago with the goal of brewing “a series of beers as diverse as the great state of New Jersey” (hell yeah!). With the input and participation of local residents, Flying Fish has been working on developing new styles that reflect the many histories associated with each exit (there are 18 in total). Some are obvious; for example, the Exit 9 (the exit for Rutgers University) is a Hoppy Scarlet Ale (Rutgers’ mascot is the Scarlet Knights). Exit 4 is not. So…a little research!
Exit 4 is…Mount Laurel Township. (Hey planning, history, and law nerds! This is THE Mount Laurel, you know, from the Mount Laurel doctrine that advanced affordable housing efforts through zoning.) More relevant, the Flying Fish brewery is in close proximity to Mount Laurel. And since Flying Fish claims that they were one of the first U.S. craft brewers to brew Belgian-style beers, they decided that Exit 4 should represent their brewing history. Thus, the Exit 4 is a Belgian Tripel, doused with a(n) (un)healthy dose of American hops (Simcoe and Amarillo, to name a few).
I understand why they would want to call this a Tripel, if only for nostalgic purposes. However, I keep getting sweet, spicy IPA. Potayto, pototahto, right? Yes, I mostly agree. But here at The Year in Beer, we’re (attempting) to dissect, analyze, and evaluate style. So, I gotta be a jerk about it.
All in all, though, this a pretty complex and delicious beast. I absolutely recommend this and challenge you to go explore New Jersey, one Exit at a time.