Here's a new word for you: Crozier is the hooked staff that was traditionally carried by Irish bishops and shepherds like St. Patrick himself. Visit the famous Rock of Cashel, and an image of St Patrick’s crozier can be seen engraved into stone. Visit Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers just a few miles down the road, and discover a different sort of Crozier—an edible buttery blue sheep's milk version.
Located in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers is a family farm with a long tradition of food and farming in the area. The 150-acre property at at Beechmount was originally purchased by Louis Grubb's father in the 1930s. While Grubb didn’t originally intend to carry on his parents’ tradition of farming, his father’s premature death in 1978 wrested him out of his career at the Irish agricultural research institute. In 1979, Grubb transformed the 120-acre mixed Beechmount Farm into a dairy farm, establishing a herd of 90 Friesian cows, but he quickly became disillusioned with churning out high volumes of milk.
To make things more interesting—and profitable—Louis decided to turn to cheesemaking. Enter Jane Grubb, Louis’s wife. A trained chef, she devoured cheesemaking courses run by Veronica Steele, a pioneer of modern Irish farmhouse cheese. Soon, noting that Danish Blue was being imported into Ireland, she suggested the farm develop an Irish version and corner the market, creating the famous Cashel Blue. Later, she decided to make a variation from sheep's milk, which became Crozier Blue.
Launched in 1992, Crozier Blue remains the only blue cheep’s milk cheese made in Ireland. Milk for production is sourced from a flock of over 500 sheep at a nearby farm in Ballinamona, which is helmed by two young farmers Michael Crosse and PJ Pollard.
Crozier Blue has a full, sweet, rich and cream-like mouth feel, with notes of salt and toasted nuts. The interior paste is shot through with gentle blue veining and has a moist, yielding texture encased by a natural rind.
Crozier Blue's piquancy amplifies the hoppiness of an IPA, but it can also be subdued and balanced by a creamy stout.