The Weekly Purge – 12/30/2014

Tuesday nights are boring.  None of the local breweries are open.  What’s the Cheesy Beer Wench to do?  Why, clean out the fridge of beer and cheese of course.

First up was the Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper (2013).  It’s a nice Belgian spiced ale, and most excellent.  As it warmed up, this beer became soooo smooth.  We paired it with a Truffled Gouda from UnieKaas and it was delightful.  We had some Morel and Leek Monterey Jack leftover and it was a nice pairing, but nothing stood out. But the Saint Angel triple crème was the best pairing with this beer.  It gave the beer a creamier mouth feel and was just nice.

Next up was an ale from Hoppin’ Frog called Outta Kilter Wee-Heavy Scotch Red.  The Wench is a huge wee heavy lover, so getting to the cheese was difficult.  Back to the Morel/Leek cheese we went, and holy crap, the Outta Kilter is an 8.2% ABV on it’s own, but after eating the cheese, the beer seemed to really brighten up and it’s ABV felt like it increased. Wahoo! And then there was the Truffled Gouda.  This cheese didn’t amp up the ABV feel, but pulled the caramel flavors of the malts in the beer to the forefront beautifully.  Outta Kilter Red + Truffled Gouda = I Just Ate a Hopped Up Caramel.  Best pairing of the evening.  So far. 😉

Ommengang Brewing’s Tripel Perfection.  One of the finest beers around.  The Saint Angel gave the beer a creaminess that was not unexpected.  A good pairing, but not epic.  The beer, being a true Belgian Tripel, needed just a bit more to stand up to it’s fruity, yeasty complexity.  We’re going to keep on looking for the best pairing with this beer, but the Saint Angel will definitely work nicely.

On to a beer you can find in your local grocery store:  Chimay Blue Label (Grand Reserve) Belgian Style Strong Pale Ale.  It’s a naturally floral beer and technically considered a Trappist ale.  The Saint Angel pulls out the rose petal flavor that’s very faint when having the beer all by itself.  The cheese really complements the flavors already present in the beer and is so nice.  Because Chimay is a rather delicate beer, you’ll definitely pair this with a very mild Brie or triple crème cheese of some sort and be very happy.

Final beer of the evening is the Stone Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity.  This is definitely a weird beer.  It’s a Belgian style ale brewed with hibiscus flower and orange peel.  We paired this with a smoked pepper jack cheese (I can’t remember where we got it but will post as soon as I find it again).  Wow.  The beer really changed.  We got a lot of blood orange flavor from the beer, which is fun considering the beer is a beautiful dark pink hue.  We don’t know if blood oranges are what they used, but when we paired this beer with the Saint Angel, there was a definite blood orange flavor profile.  We loved the triple crème with this beer.  While the smoked pepper jack gave us a “wow” experience, the triple crème was by far the most pleasing.

And with these musings, we shall sign off for the evening.  Tomorrow, an unplanned visit to Adroit Theory Brewing in Purcellville, Virginia.  Yes, cheese will be involved.  Stay tuned.photo photo4 photo3 photo

Tin Cannon Brewing – Our First Experiment

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We visited the brewery yesterday and plopped ourselves down at the bar with the following cheeses:

  • September Farm Honey Brook 3 Year Cheddar
  • Springside Morel Mushroom and Leek Jack
  • Yancey’s Steakhouse Onion

Tin Cannon Brewing has a nice variety of beers, mostly on the light side, but all delightful.  We decided on the following beers to try out with the cheese:

  • Breakfast of Champions – an experimental beer made with bacon and chipotle peppers.
  • Humble Admiration – a nice brown ale with a hoppy profile
  • Rusted Pipe Red IPA – it’s, well, a red IPA!
  • Honey We’re On a Date – a hefeweizen style, brewed with dates and honey

We had the Steakhouse Onion with the Breakfast of Champions first.  Seriously, all I wanted after that pairing was a nice grilled Italian sausage sub, covered in this cheese, with a pint of that beer!  Sadly, the Breakfast of Champions is down to it’s last keg.  And it seems it won’t be back for a while. The Humble Admiration and Rusted Pipe were paired with the 3 year cheddar.  Although both beers have a hoppy profile, each reacted differently.  The Humble had it’s hoppy notes smoothed out and the cheese really pulled the nuttiness typically found in brown ales to the forefront.  The Rusted Pipe was less bitter and the cheddar really brought the floral notes of the hops up front and center. But by far the best pairing of the evening was the Honey We’re on A Date with the Morel/Leek Monterey Jack.  The beer stands nicely on it’s own, with a slightly sweet profile but very drinkable.  When we tried the cheese, much to our surprise, the beer became more like a SAISON!  It was crazy.  We kept eating the cheese, drinking the beer, then doing it again.  I couldn’t have imagined the beer would take on such different characteristics simply by eating this cheese. If you are ever in the Gainesville area, be sure to stop in and visit Tin Cannon Brewing.  They are great people with great beer and it’s just a fun place to hang out.

Why a blog about pairing beer and cheese?

We’re starting this blog after many requests and suggestions that we put what we’ve learned out there for the world to see!  Tin Cannon Brewing Company in Gainesville, Virginia graciously allowed us to sample their beers and pair with cheese we bought locally.  We wrote up our thoughts, sent them a copy, and they were so happy they wanted more.  So The Cheesy Beer Wench was born.

Our goal is to find the best pairings between craft beers and a wide variety of cheeses.  So you can play along at home, we’ll give you all the information you’ll need to recreate our experiences.