Exit 9 Scarlet Hoppy Ale, the latest entry into Flying Fish’s series of limited edition beers that celebrate the Garden State and the butt of most of its jokes, the Jersey Turnpike, started shipping this week. So the seventh beer in the series should start popping up at beer distributors, bottle shops and bars this weekend. But you’ll have wait until March 9 to get a taste of it on draught, and you’ll have to head north to New Brunswick’s George Street Ale House to do it. Since the beer was brewed to honor Flying Fish founder Gene Muller’s alma mater, Rutgers University, it’s fitting that it debuts near the campus. “All along with this project, we’ve talking to Rutgers a lot,” Flying Fish Brewer Casey Hughes told Grub Street. “They have a big agriculture program up there that’s been really supportive in helping us track down ingredients for the Exit Series beers.”
Hughes added that he reached out to the university while making Exit 9 in hopes of acquiring fresh hops from one of their farms, but was disappointed to learn they stopped growing them. Most of the beers in the series utilize ingredients produced or indigenous to the areas near the turnpike exits they represent. For Exit One, a bayshore oyster stout, Hughes used oysters harvested from the waters near Cape May. For Exit 6, he used Wallonian rye grown in Burlington County.
On draught, Exit 9 will make its debut in cask-conditioned form locally at Yard’s Brewing Co.’s Real Ale Invitational on March 20.
Going forward Hughes said he’s still not sure which turnpike exit he will focus on next. He said the whole project has been bouncing around the turnpike in non-sequential order. They’ve tried to mix it up by picking a high number and then a low number. Hughes keeps a mental list of beers he would like to make. When it comes time to develop another Exit Series, he tries to find connections between the list of turnpike exits and his wishlist. They also take suggestions from the website.
“I knew for Exit 9 I wanted to do a hoppy red ale in honor of the Scarlet Knights,” Hughes said. “Everything kind of fit for this one, but some are harder to put together.”
He added only that a cranberry Berliner Weisse, celebrating New Jersey’s cranberry bogs, is definitely in the future of the Exit Series.