Monday, August 24, 2015

Cheese and Beer Pairings - 4 Hands

Thanks to 4 Hands' popularity (or perhaps it was the chance to hang out with me?), I was able to get quite a few friends out to this month's Cheese and Beer Pairing class.

Here are the cheeses for this month:

August Cheeses
Even better, I had my friend, Alisha, model the expert position for tasting cheese with beer at the same time!

Alisha eating cheese with a cheesy grin!
Now doesn't that make you want to sign up and join in on the fun?

Anyway, on to the tastings...

We were welcomed with 4 Hands' lightest beer, Single Speed, which also happens to be my favorite. Most of the beers from there got more and more hoppier as the night went on. Luckily, there were some very full flavored cheese to stand up to all the hops!

Send Help is an American blonde ale and any hops were quickly dismissed by the Ludwig Farmstead Creamery Kickapoo, which was more like a cheddar. One of the best cheeses of the night, and it was even better with the pear paste!

We quickly went to a heavier beer with the Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown. Now I know that this beer is low in alcohol and IBUs, but I really prefer this beer in winter. It was paired with a very heavy Marcoot Creamery Smoked Gouda, which totally coated my mouth with coffee and chocolate flavors. I think it even overwhelmed the beer! Putting it together with the caramelized pecans could not tame this cheese.

A more gentler pairing was the Centennial Red, the only local craft "red" that I've been able to find in St. Louis, with the Marcoot Creamery Cave Aged Gouda. A little bit of hops and a slightly aged cheese...a great combination.You certainly need an aged cheese to calm those hops down, but the cheese was even better with the fig spread. I dipped every bite of cheese in it!

Even though the IPA, Divided Sky, was not my most favorite beer, it definitely was perfectly paired with the Milton Creamery Prairie Breeze. This is one of my all time favorite "in the area" cheeses (actually from Milton, Iowa) since it is full of flavor like an aged cheddar. This cheese was able to stand up to the IPA and was paired with a plum paste. Oh my!

Unfortunately, the last cheese, Heartland Creamery Brimstone, was a bit too spicy for me, and I think it overpowered the hops in the Contact High. I feel like the citrus hops need to shine on their own more. But it worked out because we were all so full from the other cheeses already!

Accompaniments
Resources:

4 Hands = http://4handsbrewery.com/

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