Friday, February 18, 2011

Cheese Pairings

Here at The Bruery we're very inspired by the foods around us at every meal. As you can tell from many of the flavors that we put into our beers, we are always interested in capturing things that we like in the world of gastronomy and figuring out a way to incorporate them into our ales. On the same note, we are always very excited to find perfect food pairings for our beers and some have noted that our bottles mention you can find pairings and recipes on our website. Well, that clearly isn't true, but it's something we've been working on recently with some local chefs and connoisseurs.

We're very happy to announce and post below a listing of cheeses that pair beautifully with our beers. Kendra, our resident cheese expert who manages the culinary side of our Provisions store was kind enough to taste our beers over and over and try cheese after cheese along side to come up with the perfect pairings. It was a rough job, but someone had to do it. Read below do learn about what she discovered.


Pairing Cheese With Bruery Beer!

As opposed to the common thought of cheese and wine pairing best, our goal is to express why, on the contrary, cheese and beer compliment each other much better and to give you suggestions on which cheeses pair best with our Bruery beers.

Cheese and Beer heritage is equally as old and even more close: both were historically made on the farm by the housewife, and both are linked to the grain - although for cheese it is linked via grazing animal – which gives both of these artisan crafts their special character. Not only do beer and cheese have similar history and required ingredients, but most cheeses actually have flavors that pair better with beer. By its structural nature, cheeses are more harmonious with beer than with wine: the nut and caramel aromas found in aged cheeses are also present in malty beers like brown ales, stouts and porters. Beer is also much less acidic which makes a pairing with creamy cheese more harmonious.

The Belgian people have been enjoying their cheese with beer, not wine, since the Middle Ages and before, and unlike wine, beer is neither intimidating nor expensive. In other words, you can pretty much afford to buy one bottle of everything and experiment to find out which matches work best for you.

In general, lighter beers like our Orchard White and Hottenroth Berliner Weisse complement mild cheeses; but the reverse is not necessarily true: intense Black Tuesday paired with a super rich cheese is just too much of a good thing. It’s better to seek moderation, e.g. a more mellow beer with a big, complex cheese. Although that doesn't mean you have to chose a cheese without flavor. Overall there are no hard-and-fast rules: the only rule is what you like. But here are some guidelines for you beer and cheese lovers:

Young, fresh cheeses (Chevre, Mozzarella) go best with lighter beers
Sharp cheeses (Cheddar, Colby) go best with highly hopped, bitter beers
Aged, nutty cheeses (Asiago, Gruyere) demand malty beers
Blue cheeses (Roquefort, Stilton), which go well with sweet wines, also require sweet beers

But it can’t be summed up in four bullet points, which is why we’ve provided an extensive chart of more specific pairings for our beers that are often found on the shelves.

Orchard White – Zesty Wit! Fresh cheeses like Burrata, Chevre, Creszenza, Mozzarella, Teleme. Something that has little to no salt and has a moist milky flavor. Our Orchard White also has a lot of Lavender character so drizzling some plain or lavender honey makes for a nice extra sweet kick.

Saison Rue – This isn't your typical saison. Saison Rue had a more malty, spicy kick, with a little more heat. You can either pull the earthy qualities from the beer with an aged gruyere or soft taleggio, or you can pull the more sweet character with a parmigiano or gouda. There are a lot of styles that will pair well with this beer so don't be afraid to experiment!

Mischief – Belgian strong ale with hops! Try Cheddar and English style farmstead cheeses or Washed rind “stinky cheeses.” Its the wash in a brine of salt, liquor or beer that give the washed rind cheese its ultimate flavor. Also feel free to pair with a tart cheese like Sheeps milk Manchego, which will play of the citrus quality in the hops.

Rugbrød - Robust brown ale! This style ale gives way to many different types of cheeses but it pairs particularly well with Gouda, Gruyere, Nutty sheeps milk, Swiss style mountain cheeses like emmetal or comte. You want to bring out those nutty and earthy characters.

Hottenroth Berliner Weisse – Sour and tart! Our temptation is to pair with a fresh or aged goats milk cheese or a fresh cows milk cheese or brie but I wouldn't hesitate to try a light cheddar as well.

Loakal Red – Oak aged American Red ale with a good hoppy body! Pair this style with a nice nutty aged sheep's milk cheese or an aged cows like parmigiano or Pecorino. The aged cheeses will work to bring out that oak.

Humulus Series – Series based on Hops! There are a lot of different ideas of what pairs best with a hoppy beer. Overall what we have tasted is either a nice sharp or tangy cheddar that brings out the citrus or a blue cheese that is salty-sweet where the hops can come through fresh and enlightened.

Saison de Lente - Saisons are earthy and relatively light, and a delicate touch is required to match them with cheese. Their farmhouse character calls out for cheese with a certain level of funkiness. I find Saison matches well with musty, earthy leaf-wrapped cheeses and washed-rind cheeses on the firmer side.

Black Tuesday – Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels! This is a very special beer for us and pairing it with a cheese that will fit perfectly can be intimidating so I would suggest to try not to over power but get something that can live up to it. Aged crumbly or blue veined. Feta, Stilton, Gorgonzola, aged cheddar!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines Day a day early!

Come out this Sunday for a special Valentine's Day beer and chocolate pairing!