Springsteen, jughandles, all-night diners, and the Howard Stern rest stop. If you don't know what state we're talking about, here's another hint: pork rolls
We're talking about New Jersey, of course. And now the Jerseyest thing ever just happened: Exit 7 Pork Roll Porter, made by the Flying Fish Brewing Co., was released this week—and it smells like New Jersey's favorite ultra-processed breakfast meat.
As we have reported in the past, the pork roll is a "food article made of pork, packed in a cylindrical cotton sack or bag in such form that it could be quickly prepared for cooking by slicing without removal from the bag." People in the Garden State are so obsessed with the stuff that they have a festival—or two or three—to celebrate it.
And now there's a beer. Flying Fish Brewing Co.'s website describes the beer as follows: "dark brown, caramel porter featuring aromas of cocoa with hints of maple and smoke from the peat smoked barley. Flavors showcase chocolate, maple, toasted nuts and a bit of spice from the pork roll."
Gene Muller, founder and president of Flying Fish Brewery, said the beer took a while to perfect but, "We just went for it. We did the calculations and went in there."
Thank goodness someone is willing to fight the good fight.
"Everybody here's happy with it," Muller said of the brewers who tasted the beer before its tapping on Thursday.
Flying Fish is committed to its New Jersey-themed beers and has a whole series—called the Exit Series, of course—of brews honoring the state. Exit 5 evokes New Jersey's Pinelands, with wintergreen, goldenrod, and pine needles; Exit 16 evokes the Hackensack Meadowlands. And you thought the Meadowlands were just a dumping grounds for dead bodies. How wrong you were!
Why Exit 7 for the pork roll beer? Everyone knows that's the exit on the Jersey Turnpike that you take to get to Taylor Provisions, the prominent company that makes pork rolls.
All of this—if you are from Jersey—leads to this question: What about Taylor ham? That's the big competitor of the pork roll. New Jerseyans evidently spend a lot of time debating which is better: pork roll or Taylor ham?
Muller said he had hoped to create a Taylor ham beer "but Taylor Ham is a trademark and by the time we got that idea we'd have to start dealing with lawyers approval for trademark. So we went with just pork roll instead."
The people of New Jersey will have to content themselves with their pork roll beer for now.