Hot Pepper Jack
Located in the rolling hills of central Wisconsin, Carr Valley Cheese remains one of Wisconsin's most traditional cheese plants, famous for its Wisconsin cheddar varieties as well as a host of more modern cheeses. Now owned and operated by Sid Cook, Carr Valley was founded in 1902, but the Cook family has been making cheese since 1883.
Sid is a fourth generation cheesemaker. The first cheese plant that his father operated was in Irish Valley, where Sid worked with his father for several years before taking over the business in the mid 70's. During this time Sid also learned how to make his own cultures from his father and grandfather. He and his brother made Wisconsin-style cheddar at that location for ten years, and Sid eventually purchased Carr Valley in 1986 and another cheesemaking facility in 1991, with a layout that would allow for more flexibility and the development of more styles of cheese.
Carr Valley now sources cow's milk from 40 farms, all located within 20 miles of the plant, and each milking no more than 70 cows. Sheep's milk comes largely from one dairy and goat's milk from a group of eight farms in the Green Bay area. Carr Valley makes over 65 different cheeses.
In the 1980s, Sid and father decided to spice things up by adding red and green Jalapenos to their popular Monterey Jack. The resulting Hot Pepper Jack was a great success, so great that it’s now made in both original and smoked varieties.
Hot Pepper Jack has a spicy and robust flavor that balances well with the smooth jack cheese.
Sid says that this cheese pairs dangerously well with beer, and is therefore perfect for tailgaiting. “If you eat the cheese you want to take the heat away with some beer,” he says, “but then the beer makes it hotter, so then you drink more beer, and then you have to have more cheese.”