Some things in life are essential – coffee, tea and for me – cheese. Right now, we’ve got 8 different types stinking in the fridge. And I do mean stinking. I love a good smelly cheese.
So when I received an invite to a beer and cheese pairing, I couldn’t say no. I have form for these two together already.
Meeting the lovely people from Bradbury’s Cheese, we were taken through the perfect cheeseboard. If I’m honest, not something I usually give that much thought to, but there is an art to this it seems.
Your base should be a firm cheese – cheddar the standard option and the Keynes Farmhouse Cheddar supplied for our boards was lovely. Very mature, but still with a creaminess that stopped it being overpowering.
Secondly, a soft cheese – and a rich Brie de Meaux was placed on the boards, soft, squidgy and a bit smelly, guaranteed to make me happy.
Thirdly, a blue cheese; and a classic Stilton from Colston Bassett, creamy with that characteristic acidity that Stilton is known for, it was a cracker; more butteryr and less dry that the ones I’m used to.
Finally, a continental hard cheese and here’s where things got interesting. Old Amsterdam is a Gouda cheese, matured for 18 months and it was a little bit of a surprise. Unlike the slightly squidgy texture of Gouda, this was hard, with the crystalisation you’d expect from Parmesan The flavour was nutty, slightly fudgy and sweet – I was immediately drawn to macaroni cheese (which I’ve since tried with this cheese and some Bobby’s Bangers Welsh dragon sausages. Heavenly.).
The cheeses were matched with two beers; both offering differing characteristics to go match the cheese. The Keynes farmhouse cheddar was paired with Loweswater Gold from Cumbrian Legendary Ales. I worried this would be too much for the ale, but it was actually perfect; the beer kept the tropical fruit notes, and the slight bitterness worked well with the creaminess. The second option was Duvel Belgian beer a fantastic beer, but for me this completely overpowered the cheese – killing the flavour. The Loweswater won hands down.
Finally with the Old Amsterdam we went with another of my favourites – Raging Bitch from Flying Dog – and not just because I like to ask for it at the bar. This fruity IPA, with hints of mango and pineapple, and citrus worked so well with the cheese – the citrus cut through it and the full texture worked fantastically. And secondly Wreckless from Red Willow. Again, the tropical fruits and citrus worked fantastically and it was a hardship to stop eating.
And now, a little something to maybe make you happy? The Old Amsterdam people have given me a little pile of goodies to give away. The second giveaway in a week! So if you’d like a new apron, cheese and wine set – in it’s own presentation box and the other goodies pictured below, it’s easy as ever:
Just pop a comment below and I’ll select a winner at random – no hassle, now fuss.
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