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.