30 November 2011

Beer and Cheese Club - November Edition

For our November selection, we visit beer from Canada and cheese from Italy. The beer, Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly, is a Belgian-style witbier, which Unibroue claims was the first bottle-fermented white ale crafted in North America (in 1992, if you're wondering). The cheese, Caseificio dell'Alta Langa La Tur, is a cheese made of cow, sheep, and goat's milk that the cheesemaker describes as "delicate and harmonious, fine and tasty". The cheese is produced northwestern Italy - Bosia - in a modern facility, using antibiotic-free milks, and using old world recipes.

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your November 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 selection includes four bottles of Blanche de Chambly in addition to a small wheel of cheese that the three of us managed to accidentally eat all at once. Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.

Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue is a witbier with the kind of effervescence that shoots right up into your brain. Strong and spicy nose with a lighter body and finish.

La Tur - This comes from a wine region in Italy and is often paired with a bit of bubbly, or a bubbly witbier in this case. This cheese was butter soft and arrived in a paper cup inside a plastic tub. The outside was pretty near a liquid consistency, but the middle was a bit more firm. One website said the cheese was like "ice cream served from a warm scoop," and that description is perfect. The cheese had a funky, musty aroma that carried through to taste. It had a huge farmy, grassy-like flavor that I couldn't decide if I liked or didn't.

The pairing was a harmony of both, neither overpowering the other. The bright flavor of the beer cut through the earthiness of the cheese. It subdued both of the more intense flavors and let through more subtle counterparts.

Thanks again to Goose for another great offering in the club.

Blanche de Chambly - nose is light fruit, apple, lightly tart, light body, finishes chewy/tart

La Tur - Creamy up front, funky in the back, savory in the middle. Very farmy, grassy. The cheese starts off sweet, almost like an icing, and then after a couple seconds.. wait for it... an explosion of grassy yet not overwhelming funk.

The combination of the two functions as the fizziness of the beer wipes the palate clean - not really a meld in the middle, though the flavors don't clash; rather they sit together nicely, in an apple tart sort of way.

In any case, the cheese was ridiculously delicious.

This is my first time reviewing a Goose the Market beer and cheese club offering, but I’m not stranger to pairing beer and cheese. I love washing down my nachos with a lager. And the beer and cheese crocks found at pubs are fantastic too. But the Goose beer and cheese pairing is not your standard stadium or sports bar fare. Of course, the Goose’s basement bar Enoteca is not your standard bar. I can tell you that the “Red Beer Salumi Cheese” is a fun beer concoction (beer and Hoosier Mama’s Bloody Mary Mix served on ice with meat and cheese; chorizo and provolone were the offerings this time) and the steak tartare was lovely.

But the main reason for my attendance was to try the La Tur formaggio affinato with Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly. Velveeta and Budweiser this is not. The soft white cheese is at times creamy and gooey and other times slightly dry. I could taste the grass that the cows, goat, and sheep consumed. It has a nice earthy aroma. And if finished with a dry, buttery mouth feel. It was really nicely spread on a baguette.

The yeasty Blanche de Chambly ale on lees played well with the cheese. The bubbly, golden beer pops with flavors, and it is the citrus flavor in the beer that really worked well with the grassy notes of the cheese. A nice pairing to have as we head into winter, together they remind one of a bright spring day. I’ll have to remember that in February, when winter seems never ending.

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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