It's a Jersey Thing

Despite a long and proud tradition of brewing in the state, the
breweries of New Jersey have long shied away from embracing
their Garden State roots.

“If you give people a list of beer and where it is brewed –
Oregon, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey and ask them which they
would want to drink, I doubt New Jersey would get its 25 %
share of the answer,” says Gene Muller owner of the Flying Fish
Brewery in Cherry Hill.

Sure, Jersey suds makers like Cricket Hill Brewing of Fairfield
does give a clue to its general location on the map with the “East
Coast Lager.” The Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant in South
Orange regularly offers the “Pirate” pale ale, a nod to the mascot
of Seton Hall University, which stands just up the road.

But few New Jersey brewers, if any, have translated the pride of
its residents into the product itself. Bucking that trend, Flying
Fish has decided to embrace Jersey with its newest line of beer:
The Exit Series.  They even have a new brewery slogan “Proudly
Brewed in New Jersey. You got a problem with that?”

Exit Series will focus on the Turnpike. With its inaugural beer, the
brewer seeks to answer the old joke by giving it the name Exit 4,
which happens to be the closest exit to the Camden County
brewery’s headquarters.

Exit 4 is not the kind of beer you grab from a cooler on a hot
summer day and down after mowing the lawn. Rather, at 9.5
percent alcohol and packaged in a 750 ml bottle it is more
suitable for sipping on a back porch as a sunset makes way for

The American Tripel style --  a take off the Belgium tradition of
strong beers -- has hints of oak and banana that reveal
themselves after a few swirls in the glass. It is bottled
conditioned (meaning yeast is added to the bottle allowing
additional fermentation to take place after the bottle is capped),
will keep for years evolve  in taste over time.

Flying Fish produced just 10,800 bottles of Exit 4 and some
distributors in South Jersey are already running low on their

Up next, Muller says beer aficionados can expect Exit 11 to hit the
shelves in July, though he does not know what type of beer will
accompany the beer named for where the Turnpike links up with
the Garden State Parkway.  Another in the series will follow in

The brewery launched a website – - and is
inviting drinkers to lobby for their favorite exits to be included in
future beers. Muller said he hopes that with each exit picked he
can incorporate something from the area into the brew, be it
cultural or ingredients.

Playing off another famous New Jersey trait, some people have
suggested that the beers named after exits 12 – 15, in the state’s
industrial corridor carry a certain smell.

“Sadly, they were not talking about barley or hops,” said Muller
John  Holl
More by John Holl:

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Brewers Make a comeback

Trash or Tribute -
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Newark's Fizz

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Beer Drinker

Beer in a Box

Embrace the Can
A Journalist Looks at Beer presents
The Beer Briefing
by John Holl