Fermentation and Fromage
Have Your Beer & Eat it Too
This is the mantra of Jackie Dodd, whose blog The Beeroness is dedicated to cooking with craft beer. From beer and chicken stew to chocolate stout cake, Jackie knows how to make beer's flavors shine. She caught up with culture to talk about her love of all things craft beer. Her first cookbook, The Craft Beer Cookbook, will be released in October. I spoke with Jackie to learn more about the world of craft beer.
Cross-posted from my blog Paul and Amy on Beer
Last week my partner in crime, Paul, and I had a tree trimming party. To keep our party-goers sated, we wanted to offer up not just a selection of beers, but also a cheese plate that would complement our beverages. We experimented a bit and now we're happy to share the results of our incredibly hard work. These are our four favorite beer and cheese pairings; feel free to use them at your own holiday table this year:
by Berkshire Brewing Co.
Barleywine Style Ale - 9.5% ABV - South Deerfield, MA
In my cheesemaking experience, I have been able to use both a home made starter, commercial bulk starters and commercial DVI. What are these I hear you ask? On this post I will go back a step and define the differences and what a starter culture is. A starter is a collection of bacteria that begin a fermentation process. In this case they are lactic acid producing bacteria or lactobacillus. There are many ways of making a starter culture as you are harvesting and using bacteria that are naturally present in raw milk anyway. Commercially, the most common starter type now is called DVI (Direct Vat Inoculation) and it comes in the form of a freeze dried powder which can just be sprinkled into a vat in big creameries and therefore is pretty hassle free.
Recently, beer blogger Winton White, a.k.a. Beerichi Tuba, and I decided to get a little experimental with beer and cheese pairing. Cypress Grove Chèvre, whose famed Humboldt Fog is celebrating 20 years, kindly supplied us with some amazing cheeses, and City Beer Store in San Francisco offered to host the tasting. We were joined by my longtime photography buddy, Gavin Farrington, and got to work. Beer and cheese at noon, that’s not so bad, is it? Here’s what we found:
The Cheese: This ultra-mellow sheep milk gouda is made in Holland especially for Cypress Grove. It is slightly buttery, with some light pear or apple notes, with a smooth, long finish.
Each September the Big E Fair is held in Springfield, MA, and for the past three years Molly Hopper has been invited to help a panel of six judges choose the best cheeses from a selection of over 150 from across the US. Hopper, who oversees the cheese program at Eastern Standard decided that she wanted to recreate the judging process at Eastern Standard.
How the Winners were Chosen
I may be biased, but I have to hold my hands up and say that I think that the Crème Fraiche made by Neal’s Yard Creamery is easily the best I have ever tasted. Since <http: thecheesemakingyears.blogspot.co.uk="" 2011="" 05="" well-its-month-on-since-i-last-wrote.html"="">leaving London it’s been missing from my life and I had just about kidded myself that I didn’t miss it all that much, until I tried some again and all pretence was gone. Damn that stuff is good. I could sit down with a great big pot and a great big spoon and be one very happy girl. Of course, it does everything a crème fraiche should: accompanies a chocolate tart or apple pie, gives a silky, lovely texture to everything cooked with it.
Finn, an organic, double cream lactic-set cow's milk cheese, made by Charlie and Haydn of Neal’s Yard Creamery, may look a little familiar to any Zingermans Creamery customers as it closely resembles their Manchester cheese. While different pastures, milk, breed of cows, and the natural recipe adjustments all cheesemakers use to personalise their cheeses will set the two apart, they seem to share common ground. This is less of a surprise when you learn that part of the extensive research carried out by John Loomis, Paul Saginaw, and Ari Weinzweig involved a research visit to Neal's Yard Creamery to investigate cheese production.
On a drizzly fall evening, Stephanie, Eilis, and I schlepped through Cambridge to visit central bottle wine + provisions, and let me tell you, it was worth braving the weather.
After a brief tour of the facilities, we were entertained with three separate wine and cheese pairings. Cabra La Mancha, an aged goat’s milk cheese with an unbelievable texture, was paired with a 2011 Muscadet. My favorite cheese of the three, the buttery and luscious Kind of Blue from Woodcock Farms, was paired with a sweet 2005 Vouvray. Finally, a garlicky, creamy Fromage Fort made from cheese odds and ends topped a soft baguette, and was paired with a 2011 Lagrein Rosé.
My first tasting of this round of Jasper Hill's Alpha Tolman Cheese was a quick, objective, utilitarian affair. A hectic schedule had kept me from truly enjoying this cheese. I promised myself that I would devote some time to relax and enjoy this cheese. Coincidentally I had promised my wife we would tour the Wollersheim Winery in Prairie Du Sac Wisconsin.