30 March 2012

Beer and Cheese Club - March 2012

Brasserie Dupont is practically a household name, with their world-famous Saison Dupont.  Dupont is a relatively new brewery, being founded in 1950.  It was a bit surprising to hear that Dupont had a new beer that we were receiving in Indiana, since Belgian breweries rarely change up their lineups.  After a bit of research, it appears that Posca Rustica isn't actually a new beer, it's just known by a different name in Belgium - Cervesia.  Posca Rustica is full of spicy Belgian yeast flavors, not unlike Saison Dupont, but it remains a unique experience in itself.

This month's cheese is a goat cheese, topped with ash.  Bonne Bouche hails from Vermont and will certainly find favor with fans of the grocery store variety of soft goat cheese.  This cheese has been aged long enough to develop a bit of a rind, which separates it from your basic idea of a goat cheese.  It will continue to age and develop a stronger flavored rind in its packaging - just don't let it go more than a month or two!

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your March installment is 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 includes Dupont Posca Rustica and a round of Bonne Bouche. Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.

I was quite excited to try Posca Rustica - every beer I've had from Brasserie Dupont, I've enjoyed.  This was no exception.  The quickest and easiest way to describe this beer would be to say that it's a German hefeweizen brewed with Belgian ale yeast.  The aroma is full of cloves and cardamom, coupled with that trademark Belgian yeast aroma and the bananas and oranges you're accustomed to in hefeweizen.  The flavor matches the aroma perfectly.  Plenty of banana, orange, pepper and cloves.  Very effervescent and refreshing, even with its 8% ABV.

The cheese was soft like goat cheese, but a touch more firm with a noticeable rind.  This was certainly not as tangy as standard goat cheese, but instead had a more robust milky flavor.  When Posca Rustica is consumed after the lighter flavored cheese, the spices in the beer come to the front and match the cheese nicely.  If the cheese is consumed before the beer, the effervescence helps cleanse the palate and the fruit comes forward in the beer.  Both the cheese and the beer are really very enjoyable and together they are quite agreeable.  This is a great spring pairing.

I've had a bottle of Posca Rustica beckoning me from the top of  the cabinet for some time now, so I was excited to learn that it was our selection this month.  It is a very lively pour, so be careful about that.  The nose is spicy and shoots straight up your nose, stinging it a bit.  It had a bit of funk, common to a Belgian style beer.  It is very refreshing and delicious.

The cheese offered a soft, creamy texture peppered with an ashy rind.  I'll admit that while I wasn't overly crazy about it by itself, I thought the pairing was spectacular.  I loved how the beer cut a bit of that ashy flavor out and the cheese enhanced the funkiness in the beer, bringing the best of both out into the forefront.  I loved the beer and loved the pairing.

Every time I attend a Beer and Cheese Club tasting, I hope that the selection is Velvetta and Busch Light. Imagine my disappointment when Goose the Market presented a bottle of Belgian ale and a round of goat’s milk cheese.

I found a soapy Belgian nose on the Posca Rustica. It has a fruity tartness with subtle herbal notes. It is bright and clean and crisp. In contrast, the Bonne Bouche is dirty. Poplar wood ash was sprinkled on the outside of the cheese. The result is a creamy, funky cheese that is surrounded by an ashy, dry mouthfeel and taste (not to be confused with smokey). In spite of the funk and ash, the cheese comes across with the freshness you would expect from goat’s milk.

Together, the beer and cheese play together. The fruit of the beer and the cream of the cheese… the ash of the poplar wood and the spices from the beer… It is an exercise in contrast and compliment.

So the question I have to ask: what would the Bonne Bouche be like in a grilled cheese sandwich?

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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