Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beer with Cheese and NPR

The former Carnegie Library, a glorious building in Washington, D.C., now houses the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Carnegie Library

On a recent cold November evening, the Society played host to National Public Radio. Susan Stamberg moderated a discussion with The Kitchen Sisters about their radio program: Hidden Kitchens.

What's the beer connection?

During a reception beforehand, cheese was donated by Cabot Creamery of Vermont and beer by Clipper City Brewing of Baltimore, Maryland. Wine was provided by Chateau Morrisette of Virginia.

Placards on each table displayed the appropriate pairings.

Clipper & Cabot @Carnegie Library

  • McHenry Lager with Cabot Reduced Fat Cheddar. This all-malt lager, reminiscent of what mainstream American lagers once tasted like, has a subdued quantity of malt and hops but enough character to pair with this reduced fat cheddar. [At the 6 o'clock position in the photo.]
  • Clipper City Pale Ale with Cabot 3-year Aged Cheddar. The earthy bite and aromas of bitters and pale ales matches the sharpness of cheddars. [At the 3 o'clock position in the photo.]
  • Small Craft Warning Uber Pils with Cabot Pepper Jack Cheddar. The beer's hellerbock-like sweet malt soothes the spice of the cheese. But its spicy hops [thus the beer is designated an Uber Pils rather than bock] match the intensity of the cheese's peppery spiciness. [At the 12 o'clock position in the photo.]
  • Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale with Cabot Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Cheddar. The ebullient herbal and fruity hop aromas and flavors of the beer are a match for the cheddar's basil and sun-dried tomatoes. [At the 9 o'clock position in the photo.]
NPR's Susan Stamberg wasn't a convert. She stayed with wine: wonderful juice from Virginia winery Chateau Morrisette. But there was a split loyalty. NPR's Ari Shapiro, sartorially elegant, chose beer.

A week earlier, I had tutored a beer-with-cheese tasting, a charity event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The major theme of that evening was that beer is a wonderful mate with cheese. In fact, I claimed, most any beer pairs well with most any cheese. (Exceptions might be some of the more extremely flavored beers.)

The same does not always hold true with wine.
According to common lore, matching wine and cheese is a no-brainer. But when a rich, plush red wine meets a fresh, tangy chèvre, it causes an unpleasant tannin explosion in the mouth.

Wine Spectator
100 Great Cheeses
September 2008

Even so, the Wine Spectator does not praise beer's companionship. But the Baltimore Sun did, in the article Crafty Combo.

1 comment:

  1. Once we are able to overcome the "wine and cheese" myth, and people start thinking "beer and cheese" I think beer's standing in the food world will make giant leaps forward.

    Why wine and cheese? Because the cheese destroys the flavor of the wine and you can get away with serving cheap wine!


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