The folks at Cherry Hill-based Flying Fish Brewing Company are continuing the Exit Series -- their epic and intoxicating journey through the cultural and alcoholic landscape of New Jersey -- by heading down south for Exit 1, a Bayshore oyster stout.
The latest installment in the company's series of beers named for exits on the New Jersey Turnpike, Exit 1 is an "export style" stout brewed with oysters in order to honor southwest Bayshore's oyster-harvesting heritage, according to the label on the handsome big bottle.
Our expert drinking team recently cracked open a bottle of Exit 1 to find out if it was a trip worth taking. What did we think? Read on to find out.
Alex Biese: Simply put, this is a stout for people who don't think they like stouts. Several of the features one would look for in a stout, such as the nutty and chocolatey aroma and the toasty flavor, are present and accounted for, but contained within a headless and overall incredibly light brew. Exit 1 is pleasant enough and incredibly drinkable, but for a stout connoisseur such as myself, it also feel unfortunately thin and ultimately kind of forgettable.
Stephen Bove: It's a fact, Jack. Certain flavors should never cross paths. Though I kept my hesitation hidden from my dining comrades, all I could think of before throwing back this unholy concoction was "Oyster stout? We don't drink pork whiskey or cheddar cheese vodka ... so why are we messing with mollusk beer?" For all of my childish reluctance though, the presence of seafood in this installment is fairly mild, adding a curious (and not altogether pleasant) brackish sensation. It finishes with a dry, bitter, burnt effect (by far its strong point). If anything, this beer could benefit from flavors a little less tepid. Certainly not repugnant, but nothing I'd ever need to try again either.
Jennifer Bradshaw: As stouts go, this one was kind of underdeveloped. From the rich, dark brown color of the beer, I expected a stronger taste and thicker consistency, and was surprised to find that it tasted thin and a bit watery. Chocolate was the most obvious taste, and the finish contained a bit of salty tang - possibly the oysters? But, I thought it complimented my sushi lunch well, because it went down so smooth, and left a pleasant aftertaste that didn't linger for too long. I'd drink it again, as a meal accompanyment, but would get tired of it on its own.
Afton Lorraine Woodward: Oyster seems like a weird idea for a beer flavor, but hey, stranger things have been made. It turns out the Exit 1 oyster stout isn't half bad -- even if you don't like oysters or stout. The flavor is light enough and the beer is smooth enough going down that you don't get bogged down in the typical darkness and weight of a stout. There are notes of oyster, but just barely -- they linger only as a slight briney aftertaste. Best with food, and most likely seafood, Exit 1 is a solid effort, and certainly not the complete disaster it could have been.
Graelyn Brashear: Oysters? Yes. Beer? Definitely yes. Oysters as a component of beer? Hmm. After an unpleasant encounter with a sour ale during our last beer tasting, I was a little apprehensive about the potential ick-factor with Flying Fish's Exit 1, billed as an oyster stout. But there's only the mildest salty hint to this velvety, dark brew. The primary flavors are of cocoa and malt, and while it's robustly flavorful, it's overall lighter than most stouts I've met. It doesn't whack you over the head and send you reeling after a couple glasses, and it would pair nicely with a lot of wintry foods. The 750 mL bottle is nice for gifting, too, in case you still have a coworker to shop for or something. Ahem.