Friday, September 18, 2009


Lew Bryson had a note about it on Monday, and the brewery tweeted on it, too. But we were emailing owner Gene Muller about it today: The next Exit Series bomber-bottled beer from Flying Fish is an oyster stout, due out in November.

The folks at the brewery are still shuttling between Cherry Hill and the Delaware bayshore of Cumberland County to get oysters from Bivalve Packing, a small seafood wholesaler in Port Norris.

By the numbers, this beer will be Exit 1 (Carneys Point, land settlers bought from the Lenni Lenape tribe for 80 gallons of rum and some cutlery). By the map, we're talking deep, deep in South Jersey, where you'll find not just oysters but Bivalve also, a locality within Commercial Township (the township in which Port Norris is also located) and Shell Pile, which is what you get after shucking a Meerwald load of oysters.

New Jersey's oyster industry in Cumberland County crashed in the late 1950s, virtually wiped out by disease. But it has since been revived. Like Springsteen sang: ... Maybe everything that dies someday comes back.

Or gets saluted with beer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Märzen across the Delaware

Philadelphia's Oktoberfest 2009 is Saturday, the same day Oktoberfest in Munich begins.

Unlike Bavaria, where the Märzens will pour over several days (Sept. 19-Oct. 4), you have only one day for the eins, zwei, drei g'suffa! in Philly.

Here's the link for the Philly nod to Ludwig and Therese's nuptials. Flying Fish is the lone Jersey brewer among the beer lineup, which also features the deutschers of Spaten, Ayinger, Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner, plus enough pumpkin ale to float your gourd.

Meanwhile, New York City's Craft Beer Week wraps up on Sunday, which makes New Jersey – sans a beer week of its own – again that barrel tapped at both ends, as Benjamin Franklin is said to have described the Garden State. Only now, you can apply that notion to New York City and Philadelphia's drawing upon New Jersey's craft beer patrons, pretty much undercutting our beer identity.

Is New Jersey Beer Week the answer to burnishing our beer profile? The idea's worth some consideration.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scenes from Ramstein Oktoberfest 2009

From last Saturday's debut of Ramstein Munich Amber Lager (Oktoberfest) at High Point Brewery in Butler. A strong turnout for a great beer. By the by, High Point's Oktoberfest brew will be poured at the Crystal Springs Resort Oktoberfest event on Saturday (Sept. 19).

Fest Radar: Woodbridge this weekend

The third Central Jersey Beer Fest is this Saturday (Sept. 19) in Woodbridge.

Like the two previous incarnations, this year's event will be held from 1-5 p.m. at Parker Press Park, a bottle cap's toss from the taps of the festival's organizer, J.J. Bitting brewpub.

Amonng the Jersey breweries, contract brewers and brewpubs attending will be the Tun Tavern (Atlantic City), Harvest Moon (New Brunswick), Pizzeria Uno (Metuchen), River Horse Brewing (Lambertville), Cricket Hill Brewing (Fairfield), and Boak's Beverage (Pompton Lakes). Last year also featured out-of-state breweries represented by Hunterdon Distributors. And speaking of Boak's, owner Brian Boak says Kohler Beer Distributors will be handling his beers in the seven northern counties of the state. Brian has self-distributed and largely focused on Pennsylvania as a market for his brew lineup, which he has contract-brewed at High Point Brewing in Butler. Kohler now helps him devote some attention to his home state.

Admission is 20 bucks and there's unlimited sampling, plus and plenty of food vendors to sate your appetite. Proceeds from the admission will go to a local charity cause (a terminally ill child from the Fords section of Woodbridge, we're told).

The park is easy to find, but your best bet for getting there is probably by train. NJ Transit has a station right beside the park. As with any festival, your behavior matters, so if you're inclined to get tuned up, you run a risk of not being served, or worse, asked to leave. (The past two festivals have gone very smoothly, so make the third the same.) right now is calling for a chance of rain on Saturday. So keep an eye on the forecast. Contact J.J. Bitting brewpub for tickets.

Here's video of last year's festival.