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.