Brooklyn, New York
Steve Hindy and Tom Potter founded the Brooklyn Brewery in 1988 at the very beginning of the American craft beer movement. Hindy, in fact, began homebrewing while he was a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press—beer was hard to come by in Beirut in the 1980s. Hindy and Potter, a banker, would go on to form what is one of the 50 largest breweries in the United States today.
Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City, Missouri
One of the Midwest’s oldest—and now most popular—craft breweries, Boulevard Brewing Company sold its first keg of pale ale to a nearby Mexican restaurant in 1989. Since then, founder John McDonald has seen his brewery ranked as the country’s sixteenth largest brewery, and he has launched a series of experimental beers packaged in corked 750 ml bottles. While Boulevard’s classic wheat beer continues to sell fast, its new Smokestack Series has given brewers the opportunity to stretch their creativity. “It is a great time to be a craft brewer in the U.S.,” McDonald says.
Find the beer:
Avery Brewing Company
Adam Avery’s eponymous brewery is an ideal model of the innovation and freedom exhibited by American craft brewers today: it bucks tradition and style by brewing beers to its liking and following the single goal of “making the beers that we want to drink and finding markets and fans with equally eccentric palates.”
Allagash Brewing Company
In the mid-1990s, when American craft beer was finally taking off, you could find many wonderful interpretations of English and German beer styles. But the storied brewing traditions of the Belgian monasteries were seldom replicated. These beers, with their wild yeast strains and crazy adjuncts such as Curaçao orange peel and coriander, certainly weren’t the first styles that popped into craft brewer’s heads. Allagash Brewing founder Rob Tod had the audacity to take on these mythical beers, beginning with Allagash White, a version of the classic witbier of Belgium, which has received national acclaim for its remarkably accurate representation of the style. Tod continues to build upon Allagash’s Belgian-influenced mojo today, as evidenced by the recent expansion to an oak-barrel aging program.
Though options for cheese-and-beer pairings are endless, here’s one dream flight with five of our favorite matches
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Fresh Goat Cheese & Two Brothers Ebel’s Weiss
Ah yes, the old standby that is goat cheese and wheat beer. It’s tried-and-true, and delicious—and this may be our favorite American-sourced version of the classic pairing. The textbook notes of banana, clove, and vanilla in the Ebel brothers’ hefeweizen do well to mellow the tanginess of Allison Hooper’s famed fresh chèvre. Meanwhile the citric nature of both products melds nicely, allowing the beer to finish off the pairing with some palate-cleansing bubbles.
Discover the wide range of American craft beer styles
Much as is the case with the American artisan cheese movement, domestic craft brewers are taking some cues from historical styles of European brewing. Nearly every craft brewery, for instance, has a version of pale ale in its quiver. But it’s what Americans have done to that style—dating back to 1800s England—that has put the United States at the center of the modern-day brewing universe.
In the following pages you’ll find a synopsis of the beer styles that are at the forefront of the craft beer community. Inevitably, there are wonderful styles, beers, and breweries that don’t fit this concise context—and in all honesty, that’s something to be celebrated. We’re happy to live in a world where there aren’t enough pages to cover all that American beer has to offer.
Note: Alcohol by volume (ABV) is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage.
At a Michigan creamery, cheesemaking represents a collective culture.
I have long believed, and have often claimed, that I was there that day on Detroit Street, 28 years ago, when Zingerman’s Delicatessen first opened its doors. So I was crestfallen and embarrassed to learn on my recent visit to Ann Arbor that I could not possibly have been there. As it turns out, I would not enroll as a freshman at the University of Michigan for a full six months after that historic day.
Make your own fruit-full preserves to serve with cheese
Q: As with fruit, a ripe cheese seems to be a good thing. But when can you tell that it’s at that peak stage and not gone over the edge?
A: Knowing what to look for when selecting cheese will help you pick out that perfectly ripe piece. When examining bloomy and washed-rind cheeses, look at the cream line. This translucent layer just below the rind signals where the bacteria on the surface have begun to break down the proteins in the paste—from the outside toward the center. This layer is softer and usually more assertive than the middle and adds a welcome variation in flavor and texture from the rind and center paste. But here’s the important thing: the wider the cream line, the riper the cheese. Left to age, the cream line would overtake the smooth, compact interior, leaving a core that is more liquid than paste.
Serve these tender rounds as a savory accompaniment to crab cakes or shrimp scampi, or top with raspberry preserves and goat cheese (photo) for a sweet appetizer.
Combine the eggs and ricotta in a large bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon the batter onto the skillet and cook, turning once, until the pancakes are browned on both sides.
By chef Tracy O'Grady of Willow restaurant in Arlington, VA
Photography by Renée Comet