My second day of work was a blast. Can you guess why? Well, obviously from the title, you can deduce that yes– there was a party. More specifically, it was our launch party to celebrate the release of the new Beer and Cheese: Perfect Pairings Guide for Kindle and iTunes. I’ve never participated in anything resembling a cheese tasting before—unless you count those coveted sampling tables at the super market—and was so excited to arrive at the office and find it filled with boxes of large cheeses and a myriad of beers!
Being a good intern, I helped set up, made the pairings look pretty for our party guests, and took pictures of the whole event. Cheese of all shapes and sizes were laid out and cut, revealing their creamy, crumbly, or colorful insides, which made everyone’s mouth water as they entered the office. On the other side of the room were plates of delicately laid salami and prosciutto, freshly sliced baguettes, and plates of ripe strawberries, blackberries, and figs—all of which proved to be the perfect accompaniments to cheese and beer. After almost a dozen people had arrived, my boss, Will, gathered everyone around and introduced each of the cheeses and beers with brief summaries of why each food and beverage complimented the other, as well as an explanation of their individual tastes and flavors. The list ranged from Blues to Goudas, and from copper lager to a number of different ales (pale ale, brown ale, amber ale, IPA etc.).
Once the tasting began, everyone rushed to the cheese and beer pairings they had been particularly eyeing since they had arrived. It was a lot of fun! I mingled with new people and ate so much cheese! My favorite pairing was most definitely the Beecher’s Cheddarand the Stone Pale Ale. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be taking a large chunk of it home afterward. I was talking to some of the tasters afterwards, and the crowd favorites trended towards the Beecher’s Flagship Reserve, Hook’s 10-Year Cheddar, and Beemster Extra-Aged Gouda.
Among the group, most said that they stuck to the pairings of cheese and beer quite unwaveringly, and claimed that they were satisfied with the balance of flavors pre-determined by the pairings guide.
“I just really like Gouda, and the little caramelized bits just pushed it over for me,” said party goer, Humbeen Geo. The Gouda’s pairing, Goose Island’s Pere Jacques, also received positive feedback, as BravoYourCity! intern, Janelle Albukhari praised the beer for “going really well with the Gouda,” and for being “smooth, not too strong, not too hoppy; [and having] a subtle sweetness.” Other favorites were the softer cheeses, most noteworthy being the Mt. Tam, which was lauded by pairing tasters for its creaminess and spreadability.
A success for Culture Magazine and partner, BravoYourCity!, this beer and cheese digital pairings guide was put to the test today, and has passed with flying colors. Check it out for yourself for Kindle and on iTunes.