Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beer and Cheese: Part 1

To celebrate three months of dating, the Boy and I decided to have a night perfect for us - filled with tons of good food and delicious new beers.

We went to our local beer market (coolest place ever!) and bought six beers we'd never tried that we can't get on tap at our favorite bar (which has 150 taps) from six different beer categories. We paired them with six cheeses and then made a fondue of each pairing.

The results were mixed, though leaning more towards successful and five stars for fun - we had a blast! Here's the first three that we tried:

Elysian Bete Blanche with peppadew

Peppadew is one of the Boy's favorite cheeses, and he picked this one out. It's a nice cheddar base, not overly sharp, with red peppers throughout. The cheese was pretty fantastic, and I'm munching on some cube of it as I type this up. So good I went back for more.

As for the beer, it was definitely a blonde! It had a very light color and subtle taste, which us dark beer drinkers are not used to. Apple was the predominant taste that I got, which seems like it might clash with the peppers of the cheese, but it actually was a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Beer 3.5/5 Cheese 4.5/5 Pairing 4.5/5

Derailed Black Cherry Ale from Erie Brewing with applewood smoked cheddar

The cheese was fantastic. I love the aroma of smoked cheeses, and this one was also covered in paprika, which added another depth of flavor.  The ale was not my favorite. It wasn't overly cherry flavored, which is good, because I hate that cough syrup effect you sometimes get.

As for the fondue - it was good, but the cheese definitely overpowered the beer. Such a light ale really should have been paired with something that didn't have as strong of a flavor. However, dipping some granny smith apple slices in this fondue was amazing!

Beer 3/5 Cheese 4.5/5 Pairing 3/5

Ithaca Nut Brown Ale with a Norwegian gjetost

I tried gjetost for the first time a couple of weeks ago at this super classy wine and chocolate restaurant downtown, and it quickly became one of my favorite cheeses. It's creamy and caramel flavored. Honestly, it has the appearance and texture and almost taste of a solid hunk of caramel.

We paired it with the nut brown ale, which reminded me a little of hazelnuts. I was unsure of how I'd feel about a brown ale, since they hadn't impressed me up to this point, but the Ithaca was fantastic! Overall this was an incredible pairing. The nuttiness of the beer was accented perfectly by the caramel essence of the cheese. The fondue tasted like a dessert, and would be an interesting alternative to chocolate fondue.

Beer 3.5/5, Cheese 5/5 Pairing 5/5

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