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Bier und Käse: A Delicious Postmortem

Given that I brew beer, I often pay small visits to BeerAdvocate.com, mainly to find out the general characteristics of particular styles. It was while perusing this very extensive style list that I discovered cheese pairings listed with most of the beers. How intriguing! I found this out way back around the time one of my CSA friends was having a wine & cheese party—and so into my head popped the idea, why not, of having a beer and cheese party! Curiouser and curiouser!

So, Saturday night, I went to Janina’s place (her apartment, not her blog) to indulge in a few fermented comestibles. Janina provided the beers, most of which came from Seattle or thereabouts on a recent trip of hers Out West. Naturally, in the style of my last post, I decided to write a brief postmortem of the event. Here she go.

The Beers

  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  • Pike “Naughty Nellie” Golden Artisan Ale
  • Rogue Chocolate Stout
  • Pike “Kilt Lifter” Red Ale
  • Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic
  • Pike Pale Amber Ale
  • Jubelale
  • Pyramid Apricot Ale

The Cheeses and Delectables

  • Edam Hollande
  • Brie de Meaux affine
  • Fontina Vallee d’Aosta
  • Oka classique
  • Ste-Maure Caprifeuille (goat cheese)
  • Reggiano parmigiano
  • Chocolate truffles
  • My carrot cake

The Pairings

In order to present the beer-cheese pairings in a manner that wasn’t scribbled on a piece of scrap paper, Janina used her massive hypertext markup language skills to whip up a pairings webpage, circa 1994. It can be viewed here (WARNING: You will need Netscape Navigator 4.0 or higher to view this page!)

The Pictures

I took some pictures and posted them on my INTERNET E-PICTURE GALLERYR BETA. Of course, my photo server is down sometimes, but as of this writing it is up and widely available. [2024-02-04: new hosting, new gallery, same great taste.]

Things That Went Right

  • The pairings website: Honestly, just go look at it.
  • Some of the pairings: I’m not a huge fan of brie (I find it tastes too fungal usually), but when paired with Pike’s Kilt Lifter, it was quite a sensation. Something about the spicy/herbal, long-lasting flavour of the red ale just completely complemented the brie’s fungoid character.
  • The carrot cake: People received it rather well. It’s healthy and can be cooked in the microwave. Win-win-win.

Things That Went Less Right

  • Some of the other pairings: A couple of the cheeses (edam, fontina, I’m looking at you) were mild enough that even just the carbonation of the beer washed away most of the flavour. These would be good cheeses at a wine and cheese, but in this case I think you really need some quite flavourful cheeses to hold their own against the stronger drinks.
  • Presentation: We did fine given the amount of space we had, but having a whole table laid out with the beers and their pairings beforehand would, I think, allow people to pick and sample their own choices more easily, instead of having everything just brought to them. Not that our way didn’t work, but it would be interesting to try the other.

Beer beer beer, tiddly beer beer beer…