Here on the East Coast, we are rapidly shedding our wintery weather and migrating all too quickly to summer. Spring it seems is no more than a three week block sometime before our Spring Break. As such, when we suddenly found ourselves on the cusp of a few 80 degree days, I thought I’d give the chiminea what might be a last light for the season and bust out the S’mores for the kids. You see it’s all about the kids in my little corner of the world! Sure, I might have a cigar and enlist a neighbor or two to come over for beverages, but it’s really all about the kids. Okay, so maybe it’s 75% about the kids and 25% about me. Anyway, since I knew that G-LO was living la vida loca as a temporary bachelor while his Urchins and Madame Rouge were away for Spring Break (i.e. rattling around in his house with nothing to do), always the good neighbor, I invited him over to partake in the S’moring. Never one to arrive empty-handed, he brought over a bottle of Flying Fish Brewing Company’s Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot.
As a bit of a backstory, G-LO and I had gone to the Brewers’ Plate and while sampling a wide variety of cuisine and craftiness, had the opportunity to try the Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot from the fine folks at Flying Fish (try saying that tongue twister!). As our samples were being poured, we heard how the beer is made to an ABV of 12% and then further fermented to its final 15% ABV. I was taken aback by the conversation as I had expected the 12% ABV to be knocked down and not jacked up. We were both impressed with this beer at the event, so during a recent beer run to Beer Heaven in South Philly, G-LO picked up a bottle of the Braggot for a more formal review.
Flying Fish Brewing Co. was the first microbrewery in South Jersey and has grown to become the largest of the 70+ craft breweries in the state. Flying Fish produces 6 year round beers as well as several seasonal and special beers. The brewery also produces several one-off and barrel aged beers that are only available at the tasting room in Somerdale, NJ.
The Blueberry Braggot is one of the many beers that comprise their Exit Series, which is named after the exits on the New Jersey Turnpike. Some of these beers have been moved into the year round category (Exit 4 – American Tripel and Exit 16 – Wild Rice Double IPA), some to the seasonal category (Exit 1 – Bayshore Oyster Stout) and some have been retired (Exits 8, 9, 11 and 15). Presently, the Exit 3 is classed as a special beer.
Exit 3 is the gateway to a lot of farmland, so we’re using one the state’s favorite crops– blueberries. Braggot is an ancient style– written about since the 12th century. This Braggot features local blueberries and honey, a very limited amount of hops and is fermented with Belgian-style yeast. The result is a straw colored beer with blueberry highlights. On the first sip you will note a light sweetness along with citrus notes followed by a well-rounded malt character. The beer has a medium full body.
And here are our impressions of this beer…
- Appearance: Amber with nice lacing but not a lot of foam.
- Limpd: Champagne or maybe a barley wine with hints of honey, malt and copper.
- G-LO: Soft and fruity with ripe berries, spun sugar, and champagney yeast notes.
- Limpd: Medium mouthfeel with honey sweetness upfront. This is followed by a good bit of drying (the champagnesque quality coming through) mid-palate leading up to a long, sweet (maybe some berries) and still pretty dry finish.
- G-LO: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. Good bit of bozziness at the start. Quite sweet and fruity with ripe berries and extra dry champagne notes from start to finish. Lightly astringent aftertaste with lingering berry sweetness.
- ABV: 15%
- Limpd: This was as good as I remembered from the event. A deceptive amount of alcohol that lets the Braggot go down so easy. Actually, it might be a little too easy. While not big on fruity flavors, the balance and craftiness were right in the forefront. I found this to be a great change of pace beer and certainly a great beer to have with dessert.
- G-LO: I am happy to report that the Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot translates well to the bottle and I am even happier to report that I still like it. Based upon my second experience with this beer, I’m thinking that a 6 to 8 ounce pour of this is just enough given its octane level. Also, I concur with Limpd and think that this would make a delightful accompaniment to a fruity dessert. A berry tart perhaps? Anyone? Anyone?