Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Cheesy Start to February

We kicked off the "month of love" feeding our love of cheese with another installment of pairing it with beer, assisted by numerous, like-minded friends. Our usual crew picked up cheeses from Trader Joe’s, Fred Meyer and Grocery Outlet (we’d heard they often have some good deals on good cheese), trying to select ones we hadn’t used in previous pairings. One friend, with family in Wisconsin, brought back three blocks of dairy goodness from his holiday visit. Other friends contributed their pairing skills helping to select beer and cider. From this fine time we found the following eleven pairings, in no particular order, to be our favorites.

Westminster Aged Cheddar with Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Helles Marzen
At 12 months old this cheese remains creamy, balancing the thin sharpness of this smoky beer.

Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Cheddar and Heretic Make America Juicy Again IPA
The cheese wasn’t overly spicy but did have a late palate heat that when combined with the juicy IPA was reminiscent of Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat. Since that beer is unlikely to be available again, if it’s something you enjoy, try out this beer and cheese pairing.

Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Cheddar with La Chouffe Blond
Going in a completely different route with this beer, the effervescence of the Belgian Strong Golden Ale complimented the cheese’s heat nicely. 

Roth Surchoix Grand Cru Alpine-Style Cheese with 2 Towns Riverwood Cider
Somehow this nutty cheese from Monroe, WI managed display both soft and hard characteristics at the same time, becoming more earthy when paired with the effervescent cider

Guinness Cheddar with Deschutes The Dissident with Marionberries
The oddest looking cheese of this installment, it looks and even tastes a bit like root beer...in a good way. When eaten with this tanic beer it goes from root beer to chocolate. Hard to describe but trust us on this one.

Guinness Cheddar with Sam Smith’s Nut Brown
Less decadent than the previous pairing with The Dissident, it still goes the dessert route, reminding us of eating chocolate cake.

Mullins 12 Year Super Sharp White Cheddar with Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
The sharpness of the Mosinee, WI cheese was brought out by this coffee beer and in return the cheese pulled the coffee flavor forward out of the sweetness of the beer. After a few bite, sip, bite, sip back and forths the combination was rich and dessert-like.

Murray’s Stilton with Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
As with other stout/blue cheese pairings we've tested out before, this one was a hit. A hunk of this delicious blue cheese and a bottle of this stout and bye, bye we’ll go off in a corner by ourselves, stopping only when the both of them have vanished.

Trader Joe’s Cheddar & Gruyere Melange Cheese with Fremont 2018 B-Bomb
The intensely flavorful beer combined with the first-time-we’ve-seen-it blended cheese to create a deliciously unexpected chocolate bar flavor profile.

Murray’s Stilton with Deschutes The Dissident with Marionberries
Along the same vein of the pairing with Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, the creamy blue cheese found a fast friend in this Flanders Oud Bruin that was aged for nine months on Oregon Marionberry puree.

Castello Vintage Havarti with Saison Dupont 
A big selling point on this 24 month aged cheese was the crystalline texture. The crunchy bits found in some aged cheeses are the result from the unraveling of protein chains, adding what we believe to be a very desirable texture to the cheese. Saison Dupont has proven to be a very pair-able beer for us in the past and in this pairing it amplified the flavor of the aged cheese further still, much to our delight.

Big thanks to everyone that joined in the fun with us! The more palates and minds we have contributing, the better as far as we're concerned. And even bigger thanks to The BeerMongers for indulging our pairing forays.

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