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Where In Town: d’vines, 3103 14th St NW
Price: $10.50/750 ml
New Jersey gets a bad rap these days. Thanks a lot, Snooki! One thing that gets lost amid all the trashy, televised drunken debauchery of Jersey Shore: The beer of the Garden State tends to be a lot more respectable than its B-list celebs. Flying Fish Brewing’s Exit Series is a prime example. Since 2009, the South Jersey brewery has been making limited-release beers inspired by exits on the Jersey Turnpike. Exit 11, named after the gateway to the shore, was a hoppy wheat beer tailored to beachgoers’ palates; Exit 16, a double India pale ale, was brewed with wild rice, a crop historically grown in the nearby Meadowlands. The latest release, Exit 8, came out earlier this month and contains another forgotten Jersey product—chestnuts—and local honey.
To Abbey or Not to Abbey
A big, syrupy beer, Exit 8, which aptly weighs in at precisely eight percent alcohol by volume, falls somewhere between an American brown ale and a Belgian abbey ale (Rochefort 10 comes to mind). Brewed with Belgian yeast, it smells like raisins, honey, booze, and roasted barley. It also has that characteristic Belgian-style fruitiness. Further sips reveal hints of tobacco and spice. The flavor of the advertised chestnuts, however, is hard to detect. Maybe we’ll just have to wait for the exit.