24 June 2011

Beer and Cheese Club - June Edition

June's installment of the Beer and Cheese Club features a pairing of European products.  Our beer is Nora, an interesting spiced beer from Baladin out of Italy.  If your French is rusty, Baladin means "buffoon."  If anything, that means we should have a fun beer on our hands!  The featured cheese this month is Perail out of southern France.  To the untrained eye, such as mine, it would appear that this cheese is a brie - but if brie is what you are expecting, you are in for a surprise.

A quick visit to the Birrificio Le Baladin website suggests that they are a creative and fun loving brewery.  Those who pay close attention to the beer world might recognize the brewery as one of the collaborators on the Eataly market brewpub in New York (along with Dogfish Head among others).  Nora is a beer inspired by Egyptian beers and is flavored with ginger, myrrh and orange peel.

Perail is a creamy, soft cheese created specifically with milk from Lacaune sheep.  I'm no sheep expert, so I have no idea what that means.  This cheese features a soft, brie-like rind and it practically oozes out of its shell once you cut into it.  Perail is slightly sweet and nutty with an overwhelming creaminess.

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your June 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's delivery will be 1 750mL bottle of Nora and a wheel of Perail. Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.

Nora is a great patio beer for someone not looking for something fruity. Lighter in taste and mouthfeel with a nice spice note of ginger and orange peel. this would be a great summer beer for someone who doesnt like wheat beers or summer ales. The cheese has nice lavender and juniper notes which are muted by the beer which instead enhances the tangy flora of the sheeps milk. The cheese has a great creaminess that balances out the effervescent carbonation of the beer and lends a little sweetness to the pairing.

Nora greets you with a wonderfully sweet citrus aroma. The first flavor to emerge reminded me of tangerines with a splash of lemon. As the flavors continued to develop, the citrus turned to red berries such as strawberries and raspberries with spicy ginger mixed in between. As I drank more of this beer, the ginger and orange peel became more dominant and I noticed the fruit flavors less.

Perail was a very buttery cheese with slight notes of lavender. When consuming the beer after a bite of cheese, a stronger herbal character was present in the beer. This reminded me of juniper and white pepper. The fruit flavors were subdued and the crispness of the beer cut through the buttery texture of the cheese. The ultimate result was something that reminded me of an American take on a Belgian Wit. A very interesting pairing that didn't take away from the subtle cheese and played nicely with the stronger flavored beer.

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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