This triple-cream cheese starts out young disk made at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in upstate New York. Made from a mix of cow's and sheep's milk, it ripens into a luscious little wheel over time.
The transformation happens over 15 days at Brooklyn's Crown Finish Caves, where affineurs experiment with maturation methods and as diverse array of washes in a former layering tunnel under the Nassau Brewery building. (The tunnels here stay at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, the perfect climate for ripening cheese.)
Much experimentation here has centered around Gatekeeper, which has been washed in a range of different ciders while aging, yielding several iterations. First, it was washed in Millstone's Farmgate—hence its name—a dry and earthy cider from Maryland that gave the cheese a unique allium flavor. Now it's washed in Farm Flor from Graft Cider, a pleasantly-sour cider from New York. Fruitier than Farmgate, though still not super juicy, the rustic, barrel-aged libation pushes the cheese in a funkier direction.
Fudgy, dense, and creamy, Gatekeeper's flavors range from fruity to vegetal to funky.
Photo by Kristine Jannuzzi.