Being a good organizational soldier, I chose to start things off with the Dogfish Head Aprihop and since it went over well, I used two bottles. The first cheese to the pairing board was Beaufort. My coworker in the cheese station had suggested an industrial cheddar that we’re long on, but I rejected it. My Spanish is non-existent and his English is halting but I got across the point that that cheese would do well with passive sampling. I wish I could have conveyed that there was no story to tell about the cheddar. I suspect this will happen often as the cheese buyer has told me she’s cutting back on high end purchases with the store slowing in the summer. By contrast, the beer section continues to boom, so I’m sure I’ll have good stuff for the board all season. Anyway, my expectation was that the nuttiness and creamy mouthfeel of the Beaufort would balance the hoppiness of the Aprihop.
It’s funny. I don’t find the Aprihop to be that hoppy, which shows you how tastes evolve. I used to be hop resistant and sensitive. Part of my immersion in beer was by finding roads around the IPA craze, but during the last 22 months or so, my palate has acclimated, and I can drink just about any triple or even 4x IPA and appreciate them. However, the clientele finds the Aprihop a tad bitter, so I look to pair to their tastes.
We’re right next door to a movie theater, and the best response to the beer was a woman who was shopping for a single to drink during a movie. She bought two. I’ll have to remember that idea when I resume cinematic habits.
The second bottle of Aprihop was only halfway finished when the Beaufort ran out. My colleague was trimming some pieces of Pecorino Buscano, an Italian sheep cheese with shavings of black truffles, so I saved him some work by making it the next cheese to the board. The buttery start and sweetly fungal finish of the cheese made it an ideal pairing for the Aprihop.
When the Aprihop finished I chose the Cigar City Helles Lager as the next beer. It’s a light refreshing lager with hints of lemon in the follow through. Its tone and finish made it a great pairing with the cheese, and its quantity enabled me to finish the board close to my usual departure time. During the shift there had been talk amongst the owners and managers about adding a growler program to our stellar bottle selection. I wanted to go somewhere, down a pint and ponder the possibilities.