Forge Brew Works – Lorton, Virginia – February 1, 2015

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If you’re looking for a fancy tasting room at Forge Brew Works, you aren’t going to find one.  It’s very industrial, with bare concrete walls and floor, but ample bar space and additional seating throughout.  But really, you won’t care about the décor (or lack of) once you’ve tried their beers.

The day we went, they had 11 items on tap .  So what’s a girl to do when there are so many choices?  Order all 11 beers in sample glasses of course.  While we waited for our tasters, I set out all of our cheeses and crackers.  Then I immediately decided I did NOT have enough varieties of cheese to handle the wide variety of brews here.  But, I “forged” ahead and worked with what I had.  While we did pair all 11 with the cheeses, below are our favorite pairings.  It was a hard list to pare down, because in all honesty, every beer worked with at least one of the cheeses.

Oatmeal Stout: A great stout all by itself, but when paired with a Triple Crème Brie from Wegman’s, it becomes heavenly. Actually, it becomes a café au lait. I love café au lait and I am sure I could have been quite happy drinking this stout and eating an entire block of brie.

The Solstice:  This is a black saison.  Yes, a BLACK SAISON!  We paired this first with the Triple Crème Brie.  The beer seemed to change from a black saison to a very robust porter.  Next we paired it with the Cabot Alpine Cheddar.  This cheese managed to mute the toasted malt notes and bring out the saison profile quite nicely.

Lorton Common:  This brew was intended to be a Dortmunder, but something happened during the brewing process that led Forge to continue with it as a Common.  Not surprisingly, you really could taste the Dortmunder flavor profile and we decided to pair it with Collier’s Welsh Cheddar.  The beer alone had a nice fruity quality, but the cheese brought the hop flavor forward, without any bitterness.

Slake IPA: Full disclosure: I, the Cheesy Beer Wench, do not generally like IPAs. I can appreciate them, but they are not at the top of my list. Except I really, really liked THIS IPA. Great flavor profile, with none of the excessive bitterness I generally associate with an IPA. I could really taste the flavors of the Centennial and Cascade hops they used. We decided to pair this with the Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre. As surprised as I was about how much I liked the IPA on it’s own, I was more surprised by what happened with the cheese. Most of the pairing was “tasted” when I exhaled through my nose after swallowing. For me, the resulting “taste” was very much like having had a cream soda. We did this several times and even Igor agreed this was the most interesting pairing of the day.

Forge Brew Works is definitely one of our favorite places. Their brews are consistently excellent and the staff is great. We’ve even been lucky enough to be able to talk with the owner/brewer Matt Rose a few times. Make sure you follow them on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news about upcoming events and beers. We will definitely be going back there in the near future. Next time, we’ll bring more cheeses.

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