Heritage Brewing – Manassas, Virginia – January 2, 2015

Heritage 1

Tucked away in a little industrial area in Old Town Manassas is this awesome little brewery by the name of Heritage Brewing.  Owned by veterans, the theme celebrates the history of this great nation and all of their flagship beers are named accordingly.  We’ve had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time here and were eager to finally do a cheese pairing with their brews.  Here we note our favorite pairings so far.  We’ll go back when they introduce any new experimental brews, but until then, we plan to just enjoy their current line-up.

Revolution is a very nice amber ale.  Easy to drink with a dash of hops, this brew was begging for an interesting cheese.   We paired this up with the Yancey’s Steakhouse Onion cheese.  It isolated the hop flavor, but didn’t amp up the bitterness.  And quite frankly, we just wanted this cheese on top of a grilled burger with a pint of Revolution.

Their best selling beer, King’s Mountain, is a Scotch style ale.  We brought out some of Cabot’s Alpine Cheddar (available locally, we found ours at Safeway).  What a nice pairing.  The cheddar pulled out the deep caramel notes of the malts and gave a richness to this beer we didn’t expect.

Not only do they have their regular King’s Mountain, Heritage has also aged some of this phenomenal beer in oak barrels.  And boy, did that pay off.  First, we paired the Oak Aged version with some Lincet Triple Crème Brie.  Not only do you still get the rich caramel notes, it pulls out the sweetness from the whiskey barrel aging.  The sweetness wasn’t overwhelming, which can sometimes make a brew feel more like dessert.  Next, we tried the Alpine Cheddar again.  WOW.  With the cheddar, the whiskey component from the aging was pulled to the forefront and completely unexpected.  The Wench isn’t a fan of whiskey, but if she could get it to taste like this beer did with this cheese, she’d drink nothing else.

Heritage is a great place to come hang out for a pint or two, and most Saturdays they have a food truck come by.  But what makes them stand out to us is they are really committed to the local community, our veterans, and being as “green” as possible in their day to day operations.  The tap room staff is fantastic and if you’re really lucky, you might just run into the owner Sean pouring a pint or two.  Their website is here www.heritagebrewing.comFollow them on Facebook to get the latest info on events at the brewery or to see which festivals they will be attending.

Advertisements

BadWolf Brewing – Manassas, VA – January 2, 2015

BWB1 BWB2

After a lovely day with the family on New Year’s Day, we ventured out to BadWolf with our bag of cheese for a mini adventure close to home.

BadWolf is a great little nanobrewery that serves up some very interesting beers.  They always have 6 things on tap at any given time,  and new stuff will be added once a beer has been tapped.  For those who love a diverse selection, you are sure to be pleased as they usually have a new beer every week.

We loved pairing the Lincet Triple Crème Brie with the Xocolatl brown ale, but the surprise was when we took a chance and had some of the Morel/Leek Monterey Jack.  The Jack made the chocolate flavor completely disappear and left us with just the traditional brown ale finish.  It was crazy!

The Locoh IPA we paired with an Italian Taleggio, which we weren’t too sure would work.  Much to our surprise, the slightly pungent cheese took away the bitterness, leaving a very pleasant floral/citrus finish, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

By far, though, our favorite pairing was with the Yggdrasil, a braggot style beer, with the triple crème brie.  Holy. Cow.  It was likely a spicy milkshake in your mouth!  The beer on it’s own had a nice spice to it, but you could define each spice.  With the cheese, the spices really blended together and it was fantastic.

We highly recommend you stop by BadWolf and check them out.  Not only is the beer good, but the staff is a lot of fun, very knowledgeable and they will definitely take care of you.   Their website is here: http://www.badwolfbrewingcompany.com and you should also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  You’ll get all the latest info on upcoming brews and events!

Visit on NYE to Adroit Theory in Purcellville, Virginia

We ventured out west to one of our favorite local breweries, Adroit Theory.  As one of their Black Heart Society club members, it was time to pick up our latest stash of beer so we thought we’d get some cheese pairings done.

For those who haven’t been to Adroit, their line up of beer changes all of the time.  They are a nanobrewery, making small batches of excellent brews.  But this also means that by the time you read about these pairings, some of the beers discussed won’t be on the menu!  But we recommend you have fun with it.  Take some of our suggestions, pair it with newer beers, and let us know what you think.  Oh, and you should know all of their beer is high ABV.  Adroit is not for the faint of heart.

We ordered a complete flight and ended up with 12 little goblets of goodness to drink and pair with our cheese selection.  All of the cheeses were purchased at Wegman’s, but you are likely to find similar items at Whole Foods or any other high-end store.  We are going to focus on the best pairings we found this time around rather than give a pairing suggestion for all 12 beers.

Our Cheeses

Pont L’Eveque from France, Cabot’s Jasper Hill Cloth Bound Cheddar, Lincet Triple Crème Brie

First Circle Barrel Aged Blend (Ghost 049):  We paired this with all three cheeses and the brie was just phenomenal.  It drew out the sweetness of the barrel aging without being too sweet.  But we were surprised at what happened with the pont l’eveque.  The funkiness of the cheese mixed with the beer and then we experienced a cocoa finish and it gave the beer a very boozy punch.

Ortolan Bunting Strong Ale (Ghost 154):  Brie, brie, brie.  The only cheese you will need with this beer.  Really makes the caramel/toffee notes of the malts stand up and be counted.  We never got past the brie so can’t tell you what the other cheeses will do.

What Evil Lurks Imperial Pumpkin (Ghost 044), Aged in Rum Barrels:  We won’t repeat what was said the minute we put the Jasper Hill cheddar and this beer together.  It’s not very ladylike.  But we can tell you this:  the sweet of the pumpkin is mixed with the sweetness of the rum and an explosion of flavor overwhelms your palate.  This was our favorite pairing of the day.

Love of the Damned Brandy Barrel Aged Old Ale (Ghost 040):  Once again, the cheddar cheese was our pick to accompany this beer.  With the cheese, the beer takes on a port wine flavor, which is not unexpected considering this beer was aged in brandy barrels.

We had a lot of fun trying to pair our cheeses with all of these beers.  We will definitely be back when their lineup changes.  If you’re interested in seeing what’s coming next at Adroit, check out their webpage www.adroit-theory.com or follow them on Facebook.

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

Visit To Tin Cannon Brewing in Gainesville, VA Visit To Tin Cannon Brewing in Gainesville, VA Visit To Tin Cannon Brewing in Gainesville, VAtincannon

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.