Our periodic beer and cheese pairing adventure resurfaced this fall with some returning favorites showing up on the cheese front along with new ones and of course, new beers.
Cheddar, as a broad category of cheese, always makes an appearance at our pairings. This time around we had a smoked cheddar from Beecher's and a peppercorn cheddar from Face Rock that both went quite nicely with Gun Hill Rise Up Rye. The beer, brewed in The Bronx NY, was a gift from a friend out east and while we didn't love its rye-ness on its own, pairing it with these cheddars - one smoky and deep, the other slightly spicy from the peppercorns - brought out its best qualities.
Another return contender was the mushroom Brie from Trader Joe's, invited again due to its incredible versatility to pair with beers ranging from hoppy IPAs to hefty stouts and more. Falling into the "more" category this time was Drake's Quint, a barrel-aged Belgian-style quintuple. A beer like this is usually a little too much for us, both with its 14.5% ABV and the intense coriander, orange zest, honey and cherry flavor profile. Pairing it with the earthy cheese balanced the overt sweetness of the beer.
It came as a bit of a surprise to find that this big, sweet beer actually paired quite well with Murray's Blueberry Stilton. Fruited Stiltons in one form or another (apricot, cranberry) often make an appearance and fall into the dessert category of cheeses. On the surface it may seem counter intuitive to pair a sweet cheese with a sweet, boozy beer but the cheese managed somehow to tame the excessive sweet, booze flavor of the beer.
Continuing further down the dessert path, the Blueberry Stilton was a hit with Fremont 2017 BB Dark Star Spice Wars that happened to be on tap. The beer offered heavy cinnamon flavors and when combined with the cheese was reminiscent of a blueberry muffin. Breakfast anyone?
Like cheddars, IPAs are a constant in our pairing quests. Two familiar ones - Melvin IPA and Baerlic Cut the Fluff hazy IPA - both worked will with Alisios, a semi-soft cow/goat cheese from Spain. The cheese's inherent nuttiness complimented the hop profiles of the beer and was enhanced when adding some roasted pistachios we happened to have on hand, into the mix.
As always we are incredibly grateful to The BeerMongers for letting us indulge in our pairing adventures and pleased that so many of our friends are willing to join in the fun.