As Matt Rose, founder of Forge Brew Works has quipped more than a bit recently, “Cancer sucks. Beer rocks.” Matt and his wife Kerri have lovingly brought Forge along over the past few years with a focus on big and bold Belgian-style beers, and as the story goes they were overjoyed to discover in the Spring of 2015 that they would be expecting their first child. A successful young brewery, and now a baby? It sounds like the start of a great American story, but as Kerri recounted in her heart-wrenching GoFundMe page, a few months later distress and pain which was initially diagnosed as normal pregnancy woes was discovered to be Stage IV cancer. After Kerri gave birth to their little boy, Lance, she began a public fight against cancer with much of the NoVA brewing scene (among others) rallying around helping her defeat the disease.
With a major h/t to Fritz Hahn in the Washington Post on pulling together many of the details, over the ensuing weeks a plot was hatched at neighboring Fair Winds Brewing in Lorton to bring all the brewers together and release a special beer to contribute to Kerri’s cancer fund. With Kerri struggling in the hospital from complications but still optimistic, three weeks ago Fair Winds assembled 20 of the region’s brewers, from Old Ox to Mad Fox, Tin Cannon to Caboose, to put together a Belgian Pale Ale from which the proceeds would go straight to Kerri and Matt. Unfortunately, as the release plans came together Kerri passed away on January 15th. The focus of the beer, dubbed Kerri’s Cure, now became not just Kerri’s fight but also Lance’s future.
Personally, Kerri (and of course Matt) was one of the first people I met while covering the NoVA beer scene for VBR, and even in the course of a hectic DC United tailgate she was so gracious and helpful in conveying the passion the Roses were bringing to Forge. That experience was a reason why I made their Farmhouse Ale one of the first sixtels I plugged into my kegerator, but also why getting the sad news from Matt on her passing tugged at me so much. All of which is why we’re hear to discuss the beer being released across the region today in Kerri’s honor.
Kerri’s Cure, Fair Winds Brewing Co. and many others (Northern Virginia)
Belgian Pale Ale, ABV 5.0%, IBU 35
Presentation: Draught pour into tulip.
Appearance: Goldenrod with deep ocher notes in the center. No foam or lattice to speak of.
Taste: A mild floral nose with playful flavors across the body. If you let the beer sit, along the sides of your tongue you’ll get some robust piney notes that segue into a biscuity finish with a hint of a grapefruit-citrus essence. While brewed with both Citra and Saaz hops, the latter is very much the star here. The end result isn’t tart apart from some hints to that effect up front in the aroma.
Mouth Feel: This is a very effervescent beer which dances across the tongue. Some hop bitterness builds slowly over time, but the zest keeps you sipping the beer slow enough where it’s barely noticeable.
Overall: With so many different beer minds coming together, I was hopeful if still cautious they could truly pull off Kerri’s Cure. Thankfully, this is an easy drinking beer where you can easily parse out the different elements. I say thankfully, because as ours and others’ coverage has indicated, all the proceeds are to benefit the Rose family, and a beer with these stats (and taste, of course!) makes it easy to keep going back for more.
For the release event I luckily work close enough to Forge to stop in after work (and I about busted a gut hearing Scotty Doesn’t Know over the speakers), but you can follow who else is serving the beer through this weekend via #kerriscure. If you’re a lover of craft beer, this is one of the best causes you can support whether it’s through the beer itself or the custom swag merchandiser CrafTshirts is selling for the event. Odds are most of the breweries will run out over the course of the weekend, so if we haven’t convinced you to go check it out and have some good beer to help some great people, hopefully the (many) other writers and spots posting to #kerriscure will. Prost.
UPDATE: As of Saturday around noon Forge, Fair Winds, Port City, Ornery and Mad Fox had run dry. Some confirmed left at Tin Cannon, Lost Rhino, Adroit Theory, Ocelot, Old Ox, Bad Wolf, and Heritage with a few late night sightings at Caboose, Crooked Run and others just beyond the beltway. Down in Fredericksburg both Adventure and Spencer Devon are still rocking kegs, as well. Be sure to ask or check #kerriscure if you want to find some.