21 January 2011

Beer and Cheese Club - January Edition

We announced back in December that we paired up with Goose the Market to come up with a great cheese and beer pairing each month. Our first month's pairing is a really stellar combination of cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia and Hardcore IPA from BrewDog in Scotland.

The cheese from Meadow Creek is named Appalachian and is a farmstead cheese. That basically means that the cheese is made on the same farm where the animals live, and also that all the milk for the cheese comes from those animals. No outside milk is used to make the cheese. There are some other distinctions, but that's pretty much the gist of it. This particular cheese is a cow's milk cheese that is supposed to showcase the milk.

The beer is from BrewDog Brewing Company in Scotland. This particular beer is a 9.2% ABV beer in the American DIPA style. BrewDog calls it an Imperial IPA. BrewDog also states that this beer is being brewed with more hops and bitterness than any other beer in the U.K.

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your January installment is likely ready for you to pick up right now. If you're not a member, the club is $99 for 4 months. This month nets you a 750 of BrewDog Hardcore IPA and around 3/4 pound of Meadow Creek Appalachian cheese. Both are delicious on their own but even more so together.

I first tried the cheese alone and was greeted with a wonderfully creamy cheese with some notes of butter, sweet grass, and very subtle earthiness. This would be a great snack cheese just about anytime.

I next tried the beer after a quick palate cleanser, and I've got to be honest that I was really surprised by the BrewDog offering. I had shunned most of BrewDog's beers because when they came to Indiana several years ago, I bought a bottle when it was overpriced, and, at the time, it wasn't very good. This beer stood on its own as a great DIPA with loads of tangerines, passion fruit, and lots of pine. The malt is fairly substantial with ample sweetness and biscuit notes with plenty of bitterness at the back of my throat. I will be drinking this beer again for sure.

I was very surprised at the pairing when I tried them together. The citrus notes really came out full throttle, but the bitterness was gone at the back of my palate. The creaminess of the cheese really cut through all the bitterness while really showcasing the glory of the hop. This was a really well done pairing for me, and both the cheese and the beer were really great on their own, but they really create a very good pairing together.

The nose on this beer was piney and grassy with a little sweetness. It was copper in color with a bit of haziness that could only be produced by an unfiltered beer. Tons of hops, but overall a really nicely balanced double IPA.

The Appalachian was slightly hard with a texture similar to cold butter (but obviously didn't taste like eating cold butter). Nice and creamy with a touch of saltiness.

When you pair a bite of cheese with a sip of IPA you get a killer citrus flavor that is just amazing!

I went for the Hardcore IPA first. I've actually had this beer before and had forgotten how much I liked it. Definitely some grapefruit, citrus and yeasty notes in the nose with a touch of herbal accents. The flavor is pretty much exactly what I want an IPA to be, with lots of grapefruit, orange, a dry bitterness to the citrus and even a hint of oregano in there. This is a really well-crafted DIPA with big hops and just the right amount of malt and alcohol to complement and bring out the hop flavors.

Now when it comes to cheese, I am certainly not an expert. This one reminds me of a white cheddar with a creaminess reminiscent of brie. One of those cheeses that everyone can immediately recognize is very good, while still playing it safe enough to not offend anyone. I picked up a few light citrus notes and a bit of sharpness on the finish. But I'm not Hoosier Cheese Geek.

Now when these two powers combined, it was really something special. The cheese somehow pulled out most of the bitterness of the IPA and allowed the full flavor profile of the hops to flourish. Tons of sweet citrus notes blossomed that, while otherwise still detectable in the beer, became increasingly more apparent. Very well done.

To join the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market (in conjunction with Hoosier Beer Geek), check out this PDF and then either call Goose the Market at 317-924-4944 or stop in the shop at 2503 N. Delaware St.

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