Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cheese & Beer Pairings at Dierbergs - Urban Chestnut

I was beyond thrilled to be invited to a new series at Dierbergs Cooking School called "The Tastings", which is a monthly series of cheese and beer pairings. That's right! Cheese! And what a unique idea to pair it with beer...actually a different local craft brewery each month!

To kick off the series, Urban Chestnut was the featured beer and the cheese was selected by Michael Landis, a cheese and beer pairing expert from Gourmet Foods International.

Urban Chestnut
Urban Chestnut was kind enough to kick off the evening with a "welcome beer", which was their easy-to-drink Zwickel lager. You can see the pale yellow lager in the cup on the left and you know that it's perfect for drinking on a summer afternoon.

Completely opposite was the first beer paired, the Harwood Myth English-style Porter. You can see how dark brown this beer is in the second plastic cup as compared to the Zwickel in front of it in. Yet, the beer still had a smooth finish and I'd classify it as an easy-to-drink winter beer. This was paired with the Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper cheese. (YES! The same Cypress Grove who also makes my favorite cheese, Midnight Moon!). The slight bitterness of the goat cheese helped to cancel out any bitterness in the darker beer.

We went back to a lighter beer with the Stammtisch German-style Pilsner, although there was a definite crispness to this beer, which helped to cut through the sharpness of the 24-month aged cheese. The Barbers 1833 cheddar is an English cheese that has been passed down through six generations and has a slight maple flavor.

The Roth Kase Grand Cru is actually a Gruyere cheese, but since this Wisconsin cheesemaker is actually owned by a Swiss company, they had to play by the rules and change the name to avoid any conflicts with Swiss Gruyere. This cheese is very mild and was an evenly balanced match with the H.M.S. English-style India Pale Ale. Now normally I would not even get close to an IPA, but this one was so incredibly mild, that I would have never guessed it was an IPA! I would definitely order this beer again.

Another popular Urban Chestnut beer is the Winged Nut, which to me is very hoppy and therefore has that strong grapefruit finish. An equally strong cheese is needed for an IPA, and the La Bonne Vie ("The Good Life") Garlic & Herb fresh goat cheese stood up to the big flavor of the beer by coating the inside of your mouth. You definitely needed the beer to help cut through the cheese!

The last beer we tried was a traditional IPA, but since it's a mix of styles, it really cannot be classified, although it is said to be similar to a chestnut ale. Again, the hops flavor required a cheese that could stand up to it and the Beehive Creamery "Barely Buzzed" cheese did just that since it is rubbed in coffee grinds, giving it more of a bitter chocolate flavor.

The next class will take place on February 11th, 6pm at the Dierbergs Des Peres. You can sign up here: https://www.cookingschoolsofamerica.com/dierbergsdesperes/index.php?page=classes#685

Resources:

Dierbergs Cooking School = http://www.dierbergs.com/School

Urban Chestnut = http://urbanchestnut.com/

Gourmet Foods International = http://www.gfifoods.com/

Cypress Grove = http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/

Barbers 1833 = http://www.barbers1833.co.uk/

Roth Kase = http://us.emmi.com/

La Bonne Vie = http://www.labonneviecheese.com/

Beehive Creamery = https://www.beehivecheese.com/