Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cheese and Beer Pairings - Sam Adams Fall Beer

I was able to squeeze in a cheese and beer pairing class before a busy weekend of packing, and it was just what I needed to relax a little. Samuel Adams featured their fall beers and they were all new to me.

Cheese lineup
Accoutrements
We kicked off the class with their version of Octoberfest, which was easy drinking beer with a low ABV and IBU.

The first beer was actually a cider by Angry Orchard, but even though it's called "Hop'n Mad", I really tasted all apple and not hops. I guess the hops are there to reduce the sweetness and give the cider a dryer finish. This was an amazing pairing with the Grafton Village 2-year raw milk cheddar. The sharpness of the cheese cut through the sweetness and in turn, the sweetness helped to tame down the sharpness. What bliss! Vermont knows their cheese!

Then the two were paired with the dark chocolate!!! Oh my goodness...

Next up was the first non-summery shandy that I've ever had. The Jack-o Traveler had a pumpkin flavor, but the shandy aspect added a citrusy finish. Also quite easy to drink without being overwhelmed by the pumpkin. I think it's a good way to ease into the pumpkin beer season. The cheese stood out again as I am a huge Gruyere fan. Another sharp cheese flavor took on the pumpkin and spice quite easily. These were paired with the caramelized walnuts.

The official pumpkin beer came next, Pumpkin Batch, but it was not your typical pumpkin since it's actually a saison. This had a little too much spice or perhaps the hoppiness bothered me. Luckily, the roasted red pepper creamy goat cheese came to the rescue and cut right through once again. Intense goaty flavor and the creaminess just melted in my mouth. I probably could eat a container of the cheese with a spoon! These were paired with marcona almonds, but the cheese stood alone on this one.

The last two beers were super hoppy with high IBUs, and their names say it all: Hoppy Red and Rebel Rouser Double IPA. Again, I credit the cheese as saving the day since it was hard for me to get past a taste or two of the beer.

This was the first time for me to try Champignon Cambozola, which is an interesting combination of camembert and gargonzola. While there were large mold lines like a regular blue cheese, the creaminess of the triple creme was like tasting butter. The blue aspect was very mild and was easily tamed by the spoonful of honey. Just divine.

The full flavored Cotswold from Britain easily gave off chives and onion in each bite, which was completely necessary to stand up to the double IPA. While the cheese was very much "in your face", the soft cheese was complex and delicious. The intensity was cut by the gerkins or baby sweet pickles. I could have made a meal of just those two as well!

Resources:

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

Samuel Adams = http://www.samueladams.com/