Beer and Cheese Pairings July 26


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!


About jmartin437

I've worked in and around the world of high end cheese for 27 years. I've been everything from a department manager who hired and fired and trained staffs to a weekend warrior who shows up ties on an apron the middle of a rush and talks to customers and cleans up the place. I enjoy it all, and I especially like my current situation conducting informal seminars about cheese at area bars and in class at the 92nd St. Y. The current schedule is always up at In addition I conduct private events that are perfect to lead off birthday parties for foodies and sommeliers and also they make great entertainment for corporate team building events and associates meetings at law firms. In addition, I've been a freelance journalist for 27 years. Currently my profiles of leading musicians and filmmakers appear in the Wall Street Journal and I also wrote about sports for the Root, and for five loooong years, which included the entirety of the Isiah Thomas Knicks era, I wrote about the NBA for the New York Sun. I enjoyed writing about basketball so much that I now do it here at rotations for free.
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