Ocelot Brewing, Stering, VA – April 19, 2015

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We love when a new brewery opens.  It goes straight to the top of our list of places to visit. Ocelot officially opened up on April 11 and has been picking up steam ever since. Don’t let the fact there are only 3 brews on tap deter you.  With a huge space, a beautiful bar top made from reclaimed wood and very friendly staff, they are worth the drive.

First up was the Lemon Yellow Sun.  This nicely done Imperial Wheat Ale is nicely hopped and super smooth to drink.  We paired it with fresh goat cheese I had mixed honey and fresh thyme, smeared on a Triscuit.  The cheese mixture really brought the brightness of the lemon and some sweetness on the finish.  Next, we tried some of Cabot’s Alpine Cheddar.  This cheese highlighted the wheat in the beer, while bringing forward some of the herbal qualities of the hops.

Next was the Tangerine Trees IPA.  Very citrusy, with a nice dry finish, I can definitely see myself drinking a lot of this after a hard day of yard work.  The cheddar worked wonderfully with this brew.  The tangerine/orange notes really stood out and the cheese created a creaminess that was unexpected.  I almost felt like I had a hopped up orange creamsicle in my mouth.

Last but not least was My Only Friend.  This Russian Imperial Stout really exceeded my expectations.  The taste was fantastic, and they served this stout at the proper temperature!  I’m a huge stout lover, and it was awesome not to have to wait for my beer to warm up before enjoying it.  First cheese pairing was a triple crème Brie.  Fantastic pairing!  The coffee and chocolate notes are ramped up and it was like a mocha latte with a shot of booziness.  I also had some Smoked Gouda (real gouda…not processed cheese product!), so tried some with the stout.  If you are not a lover of coffee flavor in your beer, this is the pairing for you.  The smoked gouda almost completely  eliminated the coffee flavors, while accentuating the cocoa notes.  It was quite a surprising pairing.

Igor and I are looking forward to going back to Ocelot soon.  We were able to chat with Adrien, one of the founders/owners during our visit and he was awesome.  On our scouting mission the weekend before, we talked at length with Sebastian, also one of the founders/owners and got a quick tour of the brewery which was great.  Melissa, who was working behind the bar, was fun to chat with and very helpful.  We really had a great time.  Please take the time to head out there for a visit.  We promise you won’t be disappointed.



Fair Winds Brewing – Lorton, Virginia



Today was a beautiful day and we took advantage of it.  We ventured out to Fair Winds Brewing in Lorton, Virginia with our selection of cheeses, eager to do some pairings.

The brewery has only been open since early March, but we had heard some really great things about their brews.  The space itself is bigger than it would seem from the outside and is very inviting.  There is a ton of natural light spilling in from the windows and the staff is happy to see you come in.

Our first beer was the Quayside Kolsch.  What a lovely beer!  We’ve tasted quite a few beers of this style and we agreed this is at the top of our list.  The beer had a nice malt backbone.  We paired it with the Cypress Grove Midnight Moon aged chevre.  The cheese brought forward the floral notes without overpowering the beer as goat cheese can sometimes do.

Next in the line up was the Following Cs Pale Ale.  On it’s own, the pale ale was what you would typically expect.  We paired it with the Boar’s Head Butterkase and wow!  The Cascade hops were front and center.  The cheese also gave a slight sweetness to the beer we didn’t expect.

Probably one of our favorite pairings was the Cypress Grove chevre and butterkase with the Howling Gale IPA.  The Butterkase pulled forward the background caramel notes, whereas the chevre brought forward the more floral, earthy tones in the brew.  It was really great to get two different results from the same beer.

The Bulkhead brown is a super dark brown ale, full of roasted walnut and pecan undertones typical in a beer of this style.  We like this beer best with Yancy’s Fancy Double Cream New York Aged Cheddar.  The high butter fat content of the cheese really accentuated the nuttiness and gave a great mouth feel to the beer itself.

Last but not least was the Flemish Stout.  This stout is definitely not like any we’ve had before.  Brewed with Belgian yeast, this beer has a very light coffee aroma with a hint of soured yeast on the nose.  On the palate, the beer had a great mouth feel with muted hop undertones and a slight chocolate flavor.  Because the flavors in this brew are so subtle, it was really hard to find a cheese to compliment it, but the Cheesy Beer Wench never gives up.  After a bit of experimentation, the Cypress Grpve Midnight Moon was the clear winner.  The cheese didn’t overpower the subtleness of the flavors, but rather complimented them and giving a richer mouth feel to the beer.

We really enjoyed our visit to Fair Winds and are very excited to go back when they introduce new brews.  Until then, we will be looking out for the Quayside and Howling Gale on tap in the area.