It's said that we often learn more from our failures than our successes. We can also learn from others' failures as well, which brings me to the subject of a recent failure of the beer and cheese pairing variety.
A local establishment had the intriguing idea of bringing together a group of folks to pitch in to buy a BIG wheel of cheese. The idea took hold, the wheel was purchased and on the evening of the scheduled pick up the establishment paired the L'Amuse Gouda with both a beer and a wine.
Excited and anticipating the event, I did a quick search to see what beer would be recommended to pair with a gouda. Beer Advocate lumped gouda with a couple other cheeses and listed a dozen possible beers including a stout or imperial stout. Craft Beer suggested a brown ale, altbier or imperial stout. Seeing the overlap and considering the time of year I was pretty sure a stout or imperial stout would be the beer presented.
To my surprise the beer was an IPA, 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA in fact. I tried to keep an open mind because although I love beer and cheese pairings I'm not skilled enough to make my own; I rely on the experts for that. No matter how hard I tried I could not get behind this pairing and after a night of it rolling around in my head I asked someone who is not just good at pairings but a certified cicerone. He suggested a saison and although that's not a style I love I plan to take his advice. I also plan to try it with a stout.
So the moral of this little musing is that if the pairing had been successful I probably would have enjoyed it and kept moving. Instead, the failure of the pairing has led me to do some additional exploring and learning. Check back; I'll let you know how it all plays out because I have 1 lb of this delicious cheese in my fridge and it's going to get consumed one way or another.