Beer and Cheese Pairing Notes January 5

Beer and Cheese Pairings January 5, 2016

My series of pairings featuring dark beers and blues got off to an excellent start. Both Sunday and Monday, people were receptive to the offerings, and that was my primary concern. In the past when Westside Market East Village shoppers were offered blues or darker beers, they shied away.

On Sunday, I chose St. Agur, a creamy, peppery French blue to pair with Stillwater Surround, an Imperial Wheat Stout. The idea was that the lighter texture and hints of chocolate from the beer would pair nicely with the more gruff overtones from the cheese. Not only did people engage the samples, but they parsed the pairing and some people even bought the cheese.

Mondays are often problematic as New Yorkers are on their worst behavior. This particular Monday I saw three different customers deliberately ram another customer from behind to try and get past them. I felt as if I should don a striped shirt and whistle and put yellow flags in my back pocket (I’m sorry sir we’re penalizing you for that personal foul, yep gimme that rotisserie chicken you can’t have it…yeah I know it’s the last one…) In that context I was wary of wandering the crowded aisles with the board, but it worked out fine. I chose the Point Reyes Blue which is lighter and crumblier and paired it with Wulver, a barrel aged Scotch Ale from Thirsty Dog. I thought the pepper and earth of the cheese would be balanced by the caramel notes of the beer. I also thought that on a chilly January evening, NYers would warm to the idea of a 10% ABV brew.

Next time out I’m eager to try a sweeter blue, perhaps something from sheep’s milk, like Ewe Blue, and pair it with a drier dark beer.

Colston Bassett Stilton 01

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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