Home Plate Advantage
Summer is the season of baseball, Major League or sandlot, and that means beer, peanuts and—for us—cheese. Picture an early evening picnic on the grass with a team of cheese hits, like a sweet, nutty aged gouda, a soft ale-washed cheese, a full-bodied cheddar, and more. After a rousing game with family and friends, pair these cheeses with handmade beef jerky, peanuts in the shell (biodegradable packaging) and, of course, good beer. Mmmm . . . what a score.
THE CHEESES, LEFT TO RIGHT:
Made by Flavio and Margie DeCasthilhos of Tumalo Farms, Oregon, the fresh curds of this three-month-old goat’s milk wheel are soaked in local microbrew beer, which imparts a light, hoppy tang to the supple cheese.
Chimay With Beer
A soft cow’s milk cheese washed in Chimay Trappist beer from the Cistercian monks of Chimay in Belgium. The outside is more pungent than the inside, which is creamy and fairly mild. There are also three other Chimay cheeses made by the community.
From Mineral Point, Wisconsin, this handcrafted cheddar is made by Tony and Julie Hook, who create a range of aged cheddars (the five-year old is shown here); they’ve been making cheese together for more than 35 years. It is fudgy in texture and deeply flavored, with a balanced sharpness.
Prima Donna, Red Label
Aged for more than 12 months, this ultra-popular gouda-style cheese from Holland is made from cow’s milk and has a mild, yet rich flavor. It falls just short of the fat content required (48%) for Dutch gouda, yet it is sweet and nutty. The blue label version is aged six months.
Cheesemaker Kelli Estrella of Estrella Family Creamery in Washington says this soft, flat wheel started with a Taleggio recipe from the raw cow's milk of their herd of mostly Normande crosses. Its tan-colored exterior is a result of its being washed in Pike Brewery ale and aged for 60 days. The interior is moist, oozy, and creamy with a hint of yeast.
THE REST, LEFT TO RIGHT:
Sioux City Sarsaparilla
Similar to root beer, this sassy drink is always a nonalcoholic hit. It’s made by White Rock Beverages, comes in 12-ounce glass bottles, and goes surprisingly well with cheese.
Cooperstown Brewing Company beers
From the town that boasts the National Baseball Hall of Fame comes a line of quintessential sports brews. Not only do the beers have a sense of humor and speak to all who love baseball with their apropos names (Benchwarmer Porter, Nine Man Ale), but they’re also great thirst-quenchers. The hops in the Back Yard IPA are grown right at the brewery.
Crafted by Fatted Calf of Napa, California, this bendable, chewy, lightly smoked jerky is made from Marin Sun Farm's grass-fed beef seasoned with bourbon, blackstrap molasses, and sea salt.
By Thalassa Skinner
Photography by Wil Edwards