Brew Review

Beer Review – Flying Fish Exit 9 Hoppy Scarlet Ale


When it comes to beer, unlike our buddy Miracle Max, I don’t like to stash it away and let it age.  Maybe it’s a lack of the willpower required for aging brew but I like my beer fresh and prefer that it is local.   So when I was at one of my favorite brew stores the other day and they were unloading a fresh shipment of the locally brewed Flying Fish Exit 9 Hoppy Scarlet Ale I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of freshly minted beer.

Exit 9 “Hoppy Scarlet” Ale is Cherry Hill, NJ based Flying Fish‘s latest “stop” on their big bottle tribute to the Garden State.  Here is their description:

Stop seven on our multi-year trip to explore the state of New Jersey through its beer and culture, is Exit 9, best known as the Rutgers University exit. The state’s university, Rutgers, began in 1771 with classes held at a local tavern though by 1810, students were banned from frequenting “beer and oyster houses.” Alumni include Nobel Laureates, astronauts, brewery founders, authors, actors and perhaps most notably, the cartoon character Mr. Magoo.

To celebrate Exit 9, we brewed a richly flavored red beer crafted with a variety of domestic and imported malts and a classic American yeast strain. Assertively hopped with Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook and Citra, the bouquet has complex notes of citrus and tropical fruits, with an appropriate bitterness in the finish. Serve it with spicy foods (try gumbo or curry), a rich blue or sharp cheddar cheese or enjoy it by itself.”

Here is my take on Exit 9:

  • Appearance: Medium to Dark Amber, Slightly Hazy with the signature particles of a bottle conditioned beer.
  • Aroma: Hops and Sweet Floral notes
  • Taste: Mild bitterness with hoppy notes.  A very short finish.
  • ABV: 9%

I didn’t want to like this beer, I wanted to LOVE it …. but I don’t.  I love about 80% of the brews that Flying Fish makes and this one didn’t make the cut.  Exit 9 was not a bad beer.  There is nothing off or weird about it.  It is generally quite nice but it seems like an incomplete beer.  Perhaps my expectations were too high. The appearance and aroma were fantastic but the taste left me wanting something more.  After a sip, this beer seems to vanish off the tongue.  I was expecting a long complex finish and it never arrived.

I would suggest this beer for anyone who loves the aroma and sweet floral notes of a hoppy beer but doesn’t like bitterness that often comes on the back end.  Also, this may be a brew that is better when paired with the right food (as suggested by the brewer) so I will try some pairings and see how it goes.

Note:  This was one of G-LO and my Thirsty Thursday brew tastings so I expect he will be able to add his own unique perspective.

4 replies »

  1. Here’s my take on it…

    On numerous occasions, I have been asked “why do you need a glass? It already comes in one!” whenever I have poured a bottled beer into a glass (though not necessarily the correct glass per The Alemonger and The Wookie). While there is nothing inherently wrong with drinking beer out of the bottle, I (and most beer geeks) would argue that you are missing out on half of the experience. Craft beer is a visual, olfactory, and tasting experience.

    While the Exit 9 gets high marks on the visual and olfactory fronts (looks alot like the Green Flash Hop Head Red), I would have to agree with The Wookie about the taste. While there was nothing bad about how it tasted, it was a bit of a let down after the dramatic pour and enticing aromas. As he said, it just kind of ended. On a positive note, for a 9.0% ABV beer, it is very smooth and does a great job of masking it’s high alcohol content. It was a good beer, but not a great one.

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  2. I know that feeling of really wanting to like a beer and then thinking afterwards, when I’m scoffing at it, that maybe I ruined the beer for myself by expecting something of it.

    Some of the best ones take you by surprise, they’re the little gems that sure aren’t the crap you expected them to be.

    At the same time, if you can’t look forward to the new stuff from breweries you like, what’s the point?

    I like bitterness so I think I’ll skip this one.

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    • I have kind of a “three strike” policy for brews like this where I was on the fence. I usually try them at least once more, if not twice before I pass final judgment. You never know if conditions were bad. Was the beer too cold? Not cold enough? Did I get a bad batch? Did the El Diablo Burrito just screw up my taste buds? I will definitely take another pass at this one.

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