Sunday, May 06, 2007

Olney does cheese ... with beer

Local good wine and good beer shop - Olney Beer and Fine Wine (of Olney, Maryland) - has gotten the religion. It is now making recommendations on pairing beer and cheese (of course they do the same with wine). Here's a recent email:

With: Young, fresh, tart cheeses such as fresh chevre, mozzarella
Try: Wheat beers such as hefeweizen, Bavarian-style weissbier and Belgian-style witbier; pilsners.

With: Humboldt Fog and other goat cheeses with a little age
Try: A Belgian-style saison such as Ommegang Hennepin or Saison Dupont.

With: Garrotxa and other aged goat cheeses with some caramel notes
Try: Clipper City Peg Leg Stout or similar dry, creamy stouts with coffee and chocolate aromas.

P'Tit Basque and other mild, medium-aged sheep's milk cheeses with sweet, cooked-milk notes
Try: Clipper City's "Red Sky at Night" similar amber ales well balanced between malt and hops.

With: Pecorino Toscano and other aged sheep's milk cheeses with pronounced salty, nutty flavors
Try: Nostradamus Brown, Urthel Bock or other brown ales.

With: New Zealand cheddar or other classic English-style cheddar
Try: Weyerbacher Hop Infusion or other pale ales with abundant hopping; Anchor Steam.

With: Chimay, Drunken Goat or other washed-rind cheeses with strong earthy aromas
Try: Chimay Grande Reserve (blue label), Celtika Ambre, Avery's "The Reverend Quadruple"

With: Aged Gouda or Midnight Moon with pronounced caramel notes
Try: Anchor Porter or other gently sweet, mellow, rounded porters; or nut-brown ales or amber ales.
I might have some different ideas for some of Manager Johnna Benson's pairings. For instance Red Sky at Night is NOT an amber ale but a deep golden and spicy saison. I would pair it with goat cheeses. But as I say at the start of all of my beer and cheese seminars: "The first rule of beer and cheese pairing is that there are no rules - only enthusiastic suggestions."

Caveat: I, of course, work for Clipper City Brewing Company, even though my opinions and comments do not necessarily reflect the positions of the brewery!

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