Beer and Cheese Pairing July 27


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.

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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