Beer and Cheese Pairings July 31

14_shelf_Local1-Bottle-HR_original

Usually by the time customers arrive at the Westside Market, East Village on Friday late afternoon/early evening, they are already in weekend mode. I’ve learned to take advantage of this chill by offering pairing with good talking points. Unlike Mondays when people roar through the shop on the dead run, Friday’s pace is closer to a saunter, and they have time to sample and listen.

I chose the Brooklyn Brewery Local 1 for the beer. It isn’t new, but I fear it’s getting overlooked amid the onslaught of bombers we’ve been bringing in. It’s also a great gateway brew for wine drinkers who think they don’t like beer. I was all ready to talk about the history of the leading local brewery or even explain secondary fermentation, but the cheese stole the attention. It was Brillat Savarin, the French triple cream with an extraordinary literary pedigree. It was named for the author of the Physiology of Taste by Pierre Androuet, the author of the Guide du Fromage (yes he was also a cheesemonger).

When the Brillat ran out, I switched to Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert, a super buttery sheep cheese, and the talking points became about how the local-ness of the pairing. I told people what an easy drive it was to visit both producers in a weekend, though I wouldn’t want to be behind the wheel after a few glasses of Local 1.

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At the Beer Geeks TV Blog on My Beer and Cheese Pairing Strategies

Always a topic close to my heart.

http://www.ora.tv/beergeeks/article/2015/7/31/who-paired-my-cheese

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Beer and Cheese Pairings July 29

MAHRS-Ungespundet

Ever since I got the keys to the proverbial car for the beer program at Westside Market East Village, I’ve been longing to bring in a real German—as in from Germany, not an American lager made with close fealty to the Reinheitsgebot—lager, something with a crisp lean flavor and distinctive overtones of celery, root vegetables and maybe toasted sweetbreads. In other words I wanted to bring in Mahr’s Ungespundet Hefetrub, the great Bamberg lager; it’s the sort of brew that demonstrates why Germany and beer are so closely and reverently linked. After many months of building toward it (big up to the beers of Weihenstphaner and Schneider-Weisse and yes, this is a big reason why it’s called a beer program), we got it this week. Mahr’s Ungespundet and just for good measure Mahr’s Mastodon. Of course, the first day it went into the case, it also went onto the sample board.

I would have sampled it no matter what the cheese people gave me to work with, but good fortune continued, I was given a massive piece of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, a cheddar with a bit of sweet and nutty flavor in its progression. In other words, I was pairing a beer that demonstrated what a lager should taste like with a cheddar that illustrated the lofty possibilities from what many consider a mundane cheese.

I wish I could have videotaped the responses. It was split 50/50 between “oh, so this is a lager,” (and a few people were more terse with an “f- man, that is good”) and on the cheese side “really, *this* is a cheddar?”

It was an ideal corrective in two ways.

The Mahr’s ran out before the cheddar did, so I finished it with Stillwater Existent and demonstrated to more than a few people that saisons come in dark varieties too without losing their supple texture.

The evening felt like a triumph, and since it was far too hot to cook, I rewarded myself with the best burger in the ‘hood.

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Rosters: Cheese and Riesling, 92Y July 30

Cheeses &

Rieslings

July 30, 2015; 92nd St. Y

Instructors: Martin Johnson (The Joy of Cheese and Westside Market, East Village) and Michael Whidden (Banville Wine Merchants)

Cheese: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (pasteurized cow’s milk, Vermont): the new gold standard for American cheddar.

Wine: Gehrs Riesling 2011 (Mosel): The residual sugar of 2½% comes across on the palate as more “fruity” than “sweet”, much as the taste of fresh, tree-ripe fruit does.

Cheese: Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert (pasteurized sheep’s milk, Chatham, NY): a rich, buttery delight.

Wine: Dr Lippold “Empress Josephine” Riesling 2013 (Mosel): This wine offers a rich mouthfeel with delicious tropical and stone fruit notes.

Cheese: Marcel Petite Comte (raw cow’s milk, France): delicate and fruity, this French classic is distinctly nutty.

Wine: Basserman-Jordan Feinherb 2012 (Pfalz); What a wonderfully balanced half-dry Riesling should be. Orchard fruits of apple and pear combine with citrus on the palate. The taste at the front and mid-palate is fruity, but the finish is dry without a hint of sweetness.

Cheese: Chevre du Haute Beran (raw goat’s milk, France), a firm, grassy goat’s milk cheese.

Wine: Basserman-Jordan Trocken 2014 (Pfalz); Flowers on the nose. Bright apples and pears on the palate with well-balanced acidity. Refreshing.

Cheese: Winnimere (raw cow’s milk cheese, Vermont): the best washed rind cheese in the U.S.

Wine: Moser “Gebling” 2013 (Kremstal); Aromas of intense stone fruits, fine honey, fresh mandarin peel, delicate herbs and spices such as sage, juniper and nutmeg. Well defined on the palate. Solid, crisp, a lighter-styled Riesling showing purity with a lively core. Tight minerality.

Cheese: Cayuga Blue (pasteurized goat’s milk, Interlaken, NY), a peppery, herbal goat blue.

Wine: Dr Lippold Sparkling Riesling 2011 (Mosel); There’s a little apple & grapefruit in the nose, it’s a touch on the dry side and has just enough acidity to make it a very food friendly wine.

Contact Martin at thejoyofcheese@gmail.com

Next class: October 15: Better Red Than Dead

Winnimere

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Beer and Cheese Pairing July 27

JOLLY-PUMPKIN-Maracaibo-Especial-web

It’s probably the snob in me, but I tend to look down at either beer or cheese with stuff in it. Even though the list of exceptions is growing in the beer world (Sculpin Grapefruit, the various Stillwater saisons, and the many stouts brewed with coffee or chocolate or somesuch), and in cheese well, blue cheese has something in it, typically a strain of penicillium to foster the mold growth.

The hit of Monday’s pairings was a beer with several somethings in it, specifically orange zest, cocoa and cinnamon—its the Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo, a brown ale with all of the above in it. Brown ales don’t do much for me but here a well made one served as a platform for a series of unexpected flavors. It captivated people. I was given Tramonto Rosso cheese, a northern Italian cow’s milk wheel that is rubbed in grape must from winemaking. The sweetness of the must contrasted well with flavors from the beer, creating a combination that even New Yorkers at full tilt slowed to appreciate.

It was a 25.4 oz bottle, so that pairing lasted most of the tasting session. I finished off with a pairing of our homemade garlic/three cheese bread (by request) and Evil Twin’s Ryan and the Beaster Bunny saison. The pairing went over well, but in the end, I had four samples of the beer left. I was walking back to my station wondering if I could be inconspicuous drinking all four, but I was intercepted by two people and two others heard the magic words, “Evil Twin.”

It’s nice how the store has developed such a beer savvy vernacular among the clientele. Now, to do the same with the cheese.

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Beer and Cheese Pairing July 27

JOLLY-PUMPKIN-Maracaibo-Especial-web

It’s probably the snob in me, but I tend to look down at either beer or cheese with stuff in it. Even though the list of exceptions is growing in the beer world (Sculpin Grapefruit, the various Stillwater saisons, and the many stouts brewed with coffee or chocolate or somesuch), and in cheese well, blue cheese has something in it, typically a strain of penicillium to foster the mold growth.

The hit of Monday’s pairings was a beer with several somethings in it, specifically orange zest, cocoa and cinnamon—its the Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo, a brown ale with all of the above in it. Brown ales don’t do much for me but here a well made one served as a platform for a series of unexpected flavors. It captivated people. I was given Tramonto Rosso cheese, a northern Italian cow’s milk wheel that is rubbed in grape must from winemaking. The sweetness of the must contrasted well with flavors from the beer, creating a combination that even New Yorkers at full tilt slowed to appreciate.

It was a 25.4 oz bottle, so that pairing lasted most of the tasting session. I finished off with a pairing of our homemade garlic/three cheese bread (by request) and Evil Twin’s Ryan and the Beaster Bunny saison. The pairing went over well, but in the end, I had four samples of the beer left. I was walking back to my station wondering if I could be inconspicuous drinking all four, but I was intercepted by two people and two others heard the magic words, “Evil Twin.”

It’s nice how the store has developed such a beer savvy vernacular among the clientele. Now, to do the same with the cheese.

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Beer and Cheese Pairings July 26

sottocenere

Sunday was a strange day to interact with the general public at Westside Market, East Village. Twice, yes twice! While I was sampling a pairing of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and the Aspall Dry English Cider, people who had stopped at the board asked which was which. I was totally inclined to do my best John Oliver imitation and tell them that if they couldn’t tell a cheese and a cider apart then regardless of age, that they weren’t qualified to sample them.

And lest you think that it was merely something about the cheddar and cider pairing, I had this conversation whilst offering a pairing of the Point Reyes Blue and Founder’s Dirty Bastard.

Customer: What’s this? (pointing at the beverage samples)

Me: It’s the Founder’s Scotch Ale; they call it Dirty Bastard. Founder’s is a leading craft brewery in Michigan.

Customer: What is it?

Me: It’s a beer, a dark-ish beer with some nice toffee like overtones.

Customer: (tries a sip) Ew, it’s a beer!! Why don’t you say so.

I took the sample cup from her and rolled my eyes.

And it wasn’t just the store. After the shift, I stopped at bbq place I like for dinner. The place, Mighty Quinn’s, calls its beef rib a Brontosaurus rib. The staff there was still in giggles as a few minutes earlier a customer spent a few minutes trying to ascertain how they captured Brontosaurus.

<<<<sigh>>>> Anyway, both the cider/cheese and the blue/Dirty Bastard pairing went over very well. The Aspall is drier than I remember it and rounds out the cider selection nicely. We have a high end English, two French, an Asturian, and three Vermonters. Not too long ago, someone wanting to something better than Angry Orchard and its ilk was only offered Doc’s. Now, they have options.

The earlier parings centered around truffle cheeses that the cheese bosses left for me. I put Sottocenere with Founder’s Devil’s Dancer, a triple IPA that at 12% ABV and 112 IBU was well, robust! Only one customer found it a little too. Most liked the sweetness of the truffles and the hoppiness of the beer.

The other pairing was Boschetto Al Tartufo with Off Color Troublesome. Perhaps thanks to Eric Asimov’s article on Gose in the Wednesday NY Times, the pairing was not only well received but the beer flew off the shelf.

And nobody asked what an Off Color was!

troublesome

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