Barley Forge Brewing

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Next up on my L.A. brewery expedition was Barley Forge.  This one wasn’t on my radar until one of the two guys I met at Beachwood recommended it.  And… it was mere minutes from my motel after a tiring day.  It’s funny how they refer to themselves as Costa Mesa’s “first production brewery.”  Looking around all of L.A. and Orange County, an overhead observer might conclude that it was one one large concrete tract, occasionally broken up with unsightly brown hills and otherwise decorated with occasional tree planters in the inhabited area.  I guess many many years ago there were little towns, but it all blends together with clogged arteries.  In any case, their move here reflects a growing trend that every community ought to have its own brewery.  For metro cities, a brewery in the next town over doesn’t count.  They’re located in a quaint light industrial area, where only those who go looking will find them.

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Barley Forge doesn’t rate on Beer Advocate.  They have only 13 beers and only four have received three or more reviews.  They advertise Belgian, West Coast and German style beers.  I tried four (but technically five).  Left to right we have The Patsy, a Coconut Rye Stout which had been recommended but wasn’t to my taste, The Black Dahlia, a 11% ABV dark Belgian, which surprised with a little spice in a medium body, Future Tripping Double IPA which I would have bet would have been my favorite (and won), and two versions of the Orange Curtain, a orange and grapefruit tasting pale ale, one version straight and the other supplemented with nitrogen (not shown), neither of which worked for me. 

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Don’t worry, folks, I drank these from right to left.  You never start with the dark ones if you want to taste the light ones.  The brewery is fairly new and already reaching for a variety of styles and, I’d say, are quickly following through with good substance as well. I was disappointed that their One Louder IPA wasn’t on tap that night.  But, as you can see below, big dreams start small.  Surprisingly, they also have a limited food menu, which I discovered… after dinner.

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I didn’t sample the Don Perfecto, but I’m a sucker for robots.  In any case, it’s a great brewery for Costa Mesa.  At roughly one year old, they’re doing well.  We’ll see if their creativity continues to compete with some very tough general area competition.

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