Showing posts with label Cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cheese. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beer and Cheese: Cabrales blue and Keepers Stout

Any excuse to buy a six pack of Keepers Stout is a good one. A dead easy beer and cheese pairing is blue and stout. This weeks choice was Cabrales blue from Spain. This Spanish cheese is a mix of raw cow, goat and sheep milk. It is aged in naturally occuring limestone caves for two to four months. In this moist envirmonment, the naturally occuring penicillium mold goes to work. Unlike other blue cheeses, this mould is not injected into the cheese, but allowed to work naturally from the outside in. The result is a pungent aroma that is caracteristaclly blue. Cabrales is a creamy and crumbly cheese which can be somewhat spreadable. If you love that eye watering tart, funky and acidic blue flavours, then this is the cheese for you.

When you add the dry and sweet flavours of an Irish stout, good things happen. The sweet flavours balanced the tart and sour notes of the blue cheese. While the dryness of the stout and bright carbonation worked to lift the heavy creaminess and fat off the tongue. This accentuated the richness of the 45% milk fat blue. A slice of sweet apple brought out more of this stouts chocolate sweetness. Yup, it's an easy pairing and I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beer and Cheese: Torte Mascarpone and Category 12 Saison

Another week another cheese, this time it was the Torta Mascarpone. A rough translation of 'torta' is cake or pie. Torta Mascarpone is a cake with alternating layers of Mascarpone and Gorgonzola cheeses.  Mascarpone is an Italian equivalent to a soft creamy cheese like ricotta.The Torta has a smell similar to a blue cheese and cream cheese mixed together. The spicy and funky aromas of the blue were there along with the citric tang of the Mascarpone. These flavours melted together to form this wonderful funky, tart and citric creamy delight. It was a spreading cheese as the Mascarpone made the combo very soft. The perfect beer would be something with ample carbonation to help lift the fat off the tongue. An ideal beer would also need a residual fruity sweetness to balance the tart Mascarpone and funky blue-veined Gorgonzola. A saison immediately sprang to mind.

Yes, I know this is cheating; every fatty cheese goes well with a saison. The classic Saison Dupont would be too dry and floral hoppy with this milder blue combination. So I picked the Category 12 Unsanctioned Saison. I wouldn't call the C12 a saison, it is too malty. I think the Unsanctioned is closer to the French style saison called biere de garde. The saison style is more familiar to beer drinkers than biere de garde.

This combination was beer and cheese heaven. The carbonation of the C12 lifted the fatty cheese off the tongue to reveal a citric, fruity tartness. There was enough fruitiness in the C12 to draw out the lemon citrus of the Mascarpone. Malty sweetness balanced out the bitter and tartness of the blue Gorgonzola.

New week I shall try and find the idea cheese pairing with a Victoria classic: Lighthouse Keepers Stout.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beer and Cheese: L'Hercule de Charlevoix and White Bark by Driftwood

Remember resolution #1 and #6? This post combines them both. Another resolution that I didn't share was that I plan to try a new cheese every week. This is mainly to explore the possibilities of beer and cheese pairings. My knowledge of cheese is very limited; there will certainly be some mistakes. At
least on the cheese side; feel free to correct me.

The first cheese that caught my eye was the L'Hercule de Charlevoix. It is a unpasteurized cheese made with Jersey cow milk. This hard cheese is brine washed and similar in flavour to alpine cheeses like Gruyere. I will not be providing too much information about the cheese mainly because of my lack of knowledge. An alpine cheese originates from the Alps mountain range. Animals that graze there consume lush grasses, flowers and herbs. These flavours are transferred into the cheese and can vary depending on season and location. Quebec does not really contain any high mountain ranges, but the processing of the L'Hercule and the milk selected produces a similar flavour.

So what does this cheese taste like? The initial aroma was that of feet and funk. Luckily, this did not transfer over into the semihard texture of the cheese. It was rather mild with a slight nutty, fruitness. The ending was a calm tartness. Perhaps a good pairing for this beer would be an equally calm and fruity beer. Swan's Arctic ale/Kolsch came to mind. A blonde ale or a calm pilsner would do nicely also. A pale ale or hoppy saison would have overpowered this cheese. I planned to head downtown to pick up a bottle of Andrew's Arctic Ale, which would have been perfect. The lazy factor kicked in, so another local favourite was chosen: Driftwood's White Bark witbeir. I thought the creamy wheat, orange peel and slight spiciness would compliment the flavours in this cheese. Sadly, this did not work out too well. The White Bark was spicier than I remembered, so it rather overpowered this delicate cheese. It wasn't bad, just not optimal. This beer would have been better with something a tad more robust, like an Emmental or young goat cheese.