14 S. Main St Medford, NJ 08055
Review Date: 09/02/2018
Reported by: Pretzel
The Beer Posse reached quorum last Sunday as we headed up to Medford to check out Lower Forge. In attendance were Pretzel, The Stoutmeister, Princess, B3, The Rabbit, and The Wrangler. A few extra guest reviewers also showed up to enjoy the afternoon with us – Shoe Fly, The Good Neighbor, and his wife Tinkler (I know, don’t ask!). As we cruised into town, we found some street parking right out front of Lower Forge, but we also noted several public (and free) parking lots very near by. The outside of Lower Forge is very welcoming, with several small tables. Inside you find a cozy tasting room with ample seating, a hand-painted Lower Forge logo mural, a photo mural of old Medford railroad photos, and lots of wood and tin accents.
The Posse pushed several tables together, and immediately proceeded to the bar to order a few flights. We tend to get enough flights to cover all the beer offerings, and share them around so each of us can cover the entire beer menu in our reviews. We were pleased that there were 9 beers on tap for the day. The menu included a nice variety of beer types, which is nice to see as we have found many breweries to be heavily laded with IPA’s. Much to The Stoutmeister’s dismay, the Major’s Irish Stout kicked just as we bellied up to the bar. But we still had plenty to try. At this point, The Rabbit, B3, and I got into a discussion on the difference is between a Shandy and a Fruit Radler. We couldn’t agree, so we had to Google it. I would have asked Siri, but I have the dumbest Siri on the planet. Whenever I ask her a taxing question, I get the standard response “That is a good question Pretzel”, and then I get no answer. Really Siri!!??!! So to bring light to your otherwise darkened education… Today there is little or no difference between a Shandy and a Radler. Historically, a Shandy was a lager blended with ginger beer. It is thought that this was first created for Henry VIII as a tonic for his sexual difficulties during his numerous marriages. The Radler originated in Germany by a barkeep who created a 50/50 blend of lager and lemon soda. Basically a group to cyclists, were drinking all his beer, so he cut it with lemon soda to make it last twice as long. Radler BTW means cyclist in German.
Once our tasting was completed, most of the Posse opted for a live tour, while Shoe Fly continued to try to beat the giant Jenga record. Which meant every couple of minutes, you’d head a loud bang of falling blocks. I give her credit, she came close. The record was 32 according to Sean the bartender, and I think Shoe Fly got up to 29 before giving up for the day. So the majority of us, followed Pola back to the brewing room. The first thing we find, is a bunch of beakers full of Pola’s various science experiments. She was busy cultivating more yeast from a purchased slurry. A slurry is basically dormant yeast in liquid format. I had to google slurry, especially since I thought she said Flurry, and I was thinking we were getting some ice cream. Not such luck, but beer and ice cream don’e exactly go together any way. Pola is very enthusiastic about brewing, and I believe she’s a cross of your high school science teacher and a mad scientist. Her business card states that she is “Brewer & Fermentation Wizard”. The tour was very informative, interesting, and fun. Lower Forge focuses on local sources of ingredients, cultivating yeast, and recycling used grains by providing them to local farmers. One of the Posse asked about a very creepy clown statue that was perched up high on one of the pieces of equipment. Pola said her family had a tradition of hiding this creepy clown at each other’s houses, jobs, and hangouts. The idea for this spot was that Pola being somewhat short of stature, she’d be unable to retrieve Creepy Clown. But to her point, she said “Have they not heard of ladders? Step stools? Or tall people who would help her?” Obviously this spot was not going to stop Pola!
Sean who was tending bar, is Pola’s son, and you can tell he has inherited her sense of humor and whimsy. His business card lists his role as “Head Brewer and Chief Troublemaker”. I did get a chance to chat briefly with Sean, but not as long as I would have liked to. Lower Forge’s website is the best brewery website I have seen. You need to check it out. Sean blogs on the website about pertinent subjects pertaining to the NJ beer scene. Recent topics have included “Why Tape Rooms Matter”, “Bars, Boycotts, and Local Beers”, as well as Lower Forge releases, activities, and events. These articles are very informative and insightful. The sight also outlines Lower Forge’s rewards program “The Committee of 250”. This program costs $150/year and gives the members monthly perk such as free flights and/or free growler fills.
Thank you for a lovely afternoon with friends and family Lower Forge. We’ll be back again to try our your upcoming fall offerings.
Beers on Tap:
- Peach & Love – Fruit Wheat Shandy (ABV: 3.8%, IBU: 10)
- When Life Gives You Lemons – Fruit Radler (ABV: 4%, 15 IBU)
- In The Lakes Without A Paddle! – Belgian Blonde Ale (ABV: 4.4%, IBU: 24)
- Legends & Lies – Belgian Dubbel (ABV: 6.3%, IBU: 30)
- Main Street IPA – East Coast IPA (ABV: 5.9%, IBU: 41)
- Magical Mosaic DIPA – West Coast Double IPA (ABV: 7%, IBU: 70)
- Shepard’s Barrel – American Imperial Stout (ABV: 8.5%, IBU: 60)
- Vertically Challenged (Nitro) – Imperial Porter (ABV: 8%)
- Major’s Irish Stout (Nitro) – Irish Dry Stout (ABV: 4.4%, IBU: 43)
Favorite Beers of the day:
- Pretzel – Shepard’s Barrel, American Imperial Stout
- Shoe Fly – Peach & Love, Fruit Wheat Shandy
- The Stoutmeister – Legends & Lies, Belgian Dubble
- The Rabbit – Shepard’s Barrel, American Imperial Stout
- The Wrangler – Peach & Love, Fruit Wheat Shandy
- B3 – Legends & Lies, Belgian Dubbel
Additional Posse Comments:
- The Wrangler – Looking forward to their blueberry beer and pumpkin beer
- The Rabbit – They are very hands on, even doing their own canning by hand as well as blanching and pureeing their blueberries and cranberries for upcoming beers.
- The Stoutmeister – A nice place to hang out, but I find their beer still needing some work – They need to release a beer that most brewers do not have.
- Pretzel – They have a unique rewards program, the Committee of 250
- Princess – Loved the Block Buster Jenga Game. Lots of games to choose from.
- Shoe Fly – good for groups, family friendly, entertainment (board games). Staff is very sociable.
- B3 – 9 beers on tap, great for such a small operation.
- B3 – Facebook page seems current and has good content
- Lower Forge Brewery – https://www.lowerforge.com/beer/ontap/
- Lower Forge on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lowerforge
Overall Pretzel Score (7.48 out of 10):
Final Scorecard (click to open): LowerForge