Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Exit 4 American Trippel (Flying Fish Brewing Company)

After I busted on him for not contributing to Beer Club this week, dear Jason came through with Exit 4 American Trippel. This was a great choice. It is an exotic style, yet, originating in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, it has local appeal. It is readily obtainable, in case it happens to catch afire with anyone. It is bold and will probably divide opinions within the group, yet it carries the validating weight of numerous awards (including top honors in the Washington Post's 2011 "Beer Madness" bracket).

This beer comes from Flying Fish's ongoing "Exit Series," which thematically celebrates a unique aspect of each exit on the New Jersey Turnpike. I like this idea, and privately resolve to sample the entire series. They've come up with some intriguing brews, like a stout made with oysters (Exit 1), a Belgian made with rye (Exit 6), and a double IPA made with wild rice (Exit 16).

Back to Exit 4. The beer pours a dull peachy orange. It is slightly hazy and raises about a quarter inch of loose foam. There is very little lacing, surprisingly. The very pleasant nose carries grapefruit, guava, and a faint undertone of malt. The aroma became breadier as it warmed.

The taste is BIG! It kept reminding me of a double IPA. The first impression is of apricot nectar sweetness, followed by a slightly tart grapefruit note. Carbonation is low, which contributes to a chewy mouthfeel. The longer I sipped, the more fruity dimensions emerged from the complexity of the body. Toward the end of the taste I could even make out a chardonnay-like quality of grape or green apple.

There is clearly a Belgian yeast at work in this beer, but I detect a minimum of banana/clove characteristics, even though they are touted on the label. There are also more floral/citrus hops than typical for a Belgian-style ale, and it is denser and less carbonated -- which is why they've dubbed it an "American trippel," I guess. They've certainly put their very own stamp on the style, so points for that.

Exit 4 brings quality craftsmanship and big, big flavor. Not for the daily rotation, but it will be great as a dessert beer or for special indulgences.

From the bottle's label:

This hoppy Belgian-style trippel has a hazy golden hue, aroma of citrus, hints of banana/clove with rich malt character followed by a subdued bitterness in the finish.

Featured beer:

Exit 4

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