27 April 2012

Beer and Cheese Club - April 2012

It would be an understatement to say the Gulden Draak is fairly well known among craft beer drinkers.  The original Gulden Draak ("golden dragon") is one of the world's few dark Belgian Tripels.  Gulden Draak turns the amp to 11 and pushes forward into Quadruple territory.  While the white Gulden Draak bottle houses a dark triple, the black Gulden Draak 9000 bottles contains a copper colored Quad.  This beer is brand new to Indiana, and was only released in Belgium last Fall.

Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise is a Vermont cheese, modeled after a style of Alpine cheese.  The rennet used for coagulating the cheese is actually made on the same farm, which is a rare practice among producers.  As if to add one more element of exclusivity, imported French copper vats are used in the creation of the cheese.  There really is nothing else like the Tarentaise that Thistle Hill Farm has created.

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your Aprilinstallment 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 3 bottles of Gulden Draak 9000 and about half a pound of Tarentaise. Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.

Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise - vermont, copper vat, 5 months, stone cellar, rennet used for coagulating the cheese is made on the farm and helps give complexity (rare process)

Sweet cheese, reminds me of a white chocolate/macadamia cookie - not nearly as sweet but the same sort of flavors. Hardest cheese ever, bring your machete.

Rind is super grassy

Gulden Draak 9000 Quad - woo woo. Silky smooth quad. Lively mouthfeel, big banana sweetness

Combined: similar and matching flavors, no magic, but a happy middle.

I really had no idea what to expect with Gulden Draak 9000.  The name itself was epic, and fitting for the gold-plated dragon on the bottle.  Most American Quadruples are super boozy, hardly masking their large alcohol content.  Gulden Draak pulled off nearly 11% ABV as only the Belgians can.  The aroma of the beer is exactly what you would expect - sweet, candi sugar and caramel spiced with cardamom, clove and anise. At first taste, everything the aroma promises is fulfilled.  Candi sugar, almost like cotton candy, cinnamon, banana, anise and a pleasant warming alcohol background.  It is important to note that the alcohol here is warming, and not burning.  If session beers were redefined as beers that were incredible easy and enjoyable to drink, this would be a prime example.  As you continue your way through the bottle, the 11% ABV clearly starts to take its toll on your sobriety, but the beer only becomes friendlier, each drink welcoming you more than the last.  This is a well crafted beer.

The cheese is very firm, but the texture gives way quickly when consumed.  Nutty flavors (macadamia nuts, walnuts) are immediately noticeable.  The background of the cheese resembles a mild cheddar with a hint of grassiness.  Rich cream is present throughout and brings all the flavors together.  When combined with the beer, the flavors all exist in harmony.  The sugary sweetness of the beer calms down a bit and the nut flavors are welcome compliments to the warm alcohol.  This isn't a complex pairing, just one that is easy to enjoy.  And enjoy you will.

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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