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Monday, May 2, 2011

The Great Online Beer & Cheese-Off: Challenge Accepted!

In early March, Brookston Beer Bulletin posted the topic for the 51st Session: do a beer and cheese pair-off with Maytag Blue Cheese, Widmer 1-year Aged Cheddar, and Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog.


I easily found the Maytag and Cypress Grove cheeses at my neighborhood Whole Foods.  When I couldn't find the Widmer at Whole Foods or Draeger's, I went with a 3-year aged cheddar from Black Creek in Wisconsin.

As for beer, I decided to demonstrate how easy it is to pair beer and cheese by just going with whatever beer was already in my refrigerator, instead of specially selecting beers. Also, I decided to mix and match the beers and cheeses when I could to experience the different interactions on my palate.

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale
Both the read ale and the aged cheddar had a sharp, bold bite.  I don't want to over analyze this pairing.  It was good!

This beer did not pair well with the Maytag Blue Cheese. When I washed the cheese down with the beer, there was an unpleasant bitterness on the back of my palate.

The Humboldt Fog was so creamy that the flavors were washed out when drinking this very hoppy beer.

Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout
This was the first time I'd ever tried this stout.  Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, this beer was like a light, sweetened coffee. I'll admit, I was not excited to taste the blue cheese and then wash it down with this beer. Surprisingly, it was not a complete disaster, but the flavors cancelled each other out.  I had a similar reaction to the Humboldt Fog and Heresy: not bad, but not much flavor.

I tasted the aged cheddar with the stout, but it was a wreck on my palate.  I don't recommend this pairing.

21st Amendment Fireside Chat
This spiced ale had an aroma like apple cider and beer.  It was smooth and roasty throughout the palate, which I didn't expected.  I tried the Humboldt Fog with this one.  The beer cut through the creamy body and sourness, nicely leaving the palate clean for the next bite of food.

Stillwater Stateside Saison
This saison has a refreshing citrus aroma with a sweet yet crisp finish. When I tasted the Humboldt Fog, then drank the saison, I noticed that the beer brought out the sour in the cheese.

Mission St. Pale Ale
This light-bodied ale with a mildly floral hoppy aroma simply worked well with the Humboldt Fog.  It made the cheese feel more delicate.

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