What’s next? Beer and Cheese! – April 14th, 2016

What’s next? Beer and Cheese!
April 14th, 2016
Shawn Young

This was my second time doing the beer and cheese class and I have to say I was excited. I’ve had some amazing beers in the shop lately and I was eager to open some of them up! So mid day Thursday I picked out a handful of my most interesting brews and brought them next door so Crystal could start the oh-so-rough job of tasting and picking suitable cheeses to match them. Here’s what her hard work conjured up!

Big Wave golden ale by Kona brewing: This Hawaiian born golden ale is as crisp as can be, with light citrus and tropical hop notes. A beer this delicate needs to be paired with an equally delicate cheese. Le Dauphin was chosen for its soft, buttery texture and light creamy flavours. A hot weather pairing if I’ve ever had one! ($19.99 for a 6-pack of bottles)

Citrusinensis by Lagunitas brewing: On to something much fruitier, this pale ale is made with blood orange juice. The fruity, hop heavy pale has a bright and slightly tart acidity to accompany the full orange flavours. The semi-firm Catalan goat cheese Garrotxa, with its silky texture and mild flavours were the perfect match for the vibrant fruit and acidity of the beer. ($23.29 for a 6-pack of bottles)

Humulus Terreux by The Bruery: Just like every tasting, I have to put in a beer or two with wild yeasts. Whether it be sour or not, I feel it’s important to include the funkier beers to the party. Humulus Terreux is a pale, wild fermented beer with New Zealand Motueka hops. The tropical fruit aromas of the hops combine with the tropical fruity notes from the Brettanomyces yeast to make one potent and flavourful beer. The Spanish sheeps milk cheese Idiazabal was paired, and its fresh and nutty character went exceptionally well with the fruity tones of the beer. ($18.29 for a 750mL bottle)

Ondineke Tripel by De Glazen Toren: A beer and cheese tasting just isn’t complete without stepping into Belgium. De Glazen Toren is a boutique brewer of sorts. Though neither as big, or as old as many of your Belgian favourites, these guys are quickly becoming some of my favourite Belgian brewers.  This Tripel is a little light compared to its more holy brothers, but is still packed with bready, fruity flavours with that fruity Belgian yeast kick. The equally fruity Etivaz was picked, and it did not disappoint, complimenting all the fruit, with a touch of sweetness.  ($15.59 for a 750mL bottle)

Jubel by Deschutes brewing: I`ve been waiting for an excuse to open this beer! One of the few Deschutes reserve we`ve stocked that`s actually ready to open according to the “enjoy after” date. An American strong ale partially aged in Pinot Noir barrels! It was full of rich toffee, molasses, and dried fruit with balanced oak notes and a hint of wine character. Cornish Yarg was picked for this beer, with its lemony flavour and nettle wrapping. The complex acidity and bright flavours were the perfect thing for an equally complex beer with a hearty, oak enriched core. ($25.19 for a 650mL bottle)

Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout by Stone brewing: This is a beer from 2008 that was rebrewed in Stone’s “encore” series. In 2008 during a massive hops shortage, Stone took the opportunity to brew this beer using unsweetened chocolate to bitter the beer. Rich, toasty chocolate and full bitter-sweet body could only have an equally rich cheese to go with it. Old Amsterdam is an aged gouda that fits the role perfectly. Chocolate and malty sweetness in the beer and caramel and butterscotch notes in the cheese… need I say more? It was the first course of dessert.

Dixieme by Les Trois Mousquetaires: One of the more unique beers was saved for last. This Imperial dark Kriek is a rich dark cherry sour beer out of Quebec. It’s got a moderate fruity tartness with good cherry flavours in a nice dark malt base. The malty sweetness still comes though enough for this to be dessert worthy, and apparently there was an insistence that it be paired with blue cheese. So Bleu Benedictin was chosen, and it was a flavour experience that all blue cheese lovers need to have. Suddenly port has one less use for me! That is as long as this beer is available. ($20.89 for a 750mL bottle)

I had more to say than I thought here! I was blown away with each and every pairing and, honestly, I was really happy with each beer and cheese by itself (I mean how could I not be?). I could tell all our guests were enjoying themselves as well. As with any evening though, we finally made it through all 7 pairings, and I was eager to know what people loved and what they didn’t! The favourite of the night was by far the Humulus Terreux and Idiazabal, followed by the Kona Big Wave and Le Dauphin. Even by themselves, the Humulus and Idiazabal were the favorites. Very interesting picks seeing as wild fermented beers aren’t always generally popular.

And there you have it. Some of the best pairings you’ll find for beer and cheese lovers, and lucky for you, both shops are side by side! I want to give a big thanks to Crystal McKenzie and the Peasant Cheese Shop for all her expertise and knowledge, and of course to all my guests who made the evening a success!

Until next time

Cheers!

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