Recipe for a Beer and Cheese Pairing Explosion
This recipe comes from Culture Yourself, a beer and cheese pairing at this year’s Cleveland Beer Week. Other appropriate locations may be found by looking at any map of the US. I recommend a healthy dose of pre-party exercise. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute madness.
1 spacious, well ventilated venue (We picked Great Lakes Brewing's Tasting Room)
13 brewers (or to taste) with up to 5 cases of beer each (Like Bell’s)
10 creameries (or to taste), with up to 5 lbs of cheese each
1 local retailer, must be HIGHEST quality (We picked Heinen’s)
150 beer and cheese obsessed fans
Well in advance:
Select beers and cheeses to match, confirming a wide mix of styles and flavors.
Two weeks in advance:
Prepare a numbered pairing guide, so folks can know that beer #1 pairs with cheese #1, etc.
Cut and prep 50+ pounds of cheese, place at cheese stations in center of room.
Chill up to 40 beer options at 13 brewer stations on perimeter of room.
Assiduously taste all beers and cheeses.
Man stations, open doors and let the party begin.
Refrain from shouting CLEVELAND ROCKS!
We asked people to tell us about their favorite pairings. I think a couple are worth sharing.
The wildly enthusiastic:
Big Foot Barley Beer with Beemster XO. The bomb!
The pairing of Sam Adams New World Tripel and Cypress Grove Midnight Moon was true synergy. Seriously, I was telling complete strangers to make sure they tried it!!
The wildly creative:
“Humbolt Frog”—Humbolt Fog and Hopping Frog’s Goose Juice
The head scratcher:
Troeg’s Brewery’s Troegenator and Heinen’s Surchoix Gruyere, like the 4th of July in my wife’s mouth.
(I have no idea what this means, but his wife IS an opera singer!)
Buckeye Brewing Paw Paw and Oregon Blue: The citrus flavor and perfumey aroma interact with the blue cheese in a way that reminds me of the elephant enclosure at the Cleveland Zoo. A major misstep in my beer cheese pairings.
The fat lady singeth:
When it’s all said and done, best pairing: Indigo Imp’s Fiend and Humbolt Fog
text by Stephanie Skinner
photos via Cleveland Beer Week