Beer? Yes, please. Cheese? Yes, please.

10 04 2007

Beer Glass
Tonight, I attended my ninth beer tasting at Tria Fermentation School. The session was led by Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. Oliver paired seven Brooklyn Brewery beers with cheeses; I thought nearly every pairing was delicious.

Of the beers, my favorites were the Brooklyner Weisse, notable for its mild citrus and banana notes; the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, which—like any good IPA—offered hoppiness, an amazing aroma, and a pleasant level of bitterness; the Brooklyn Monster Ale, a beautiful, copper-y barley wine, which was probably my favorite beer of the night; and the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, a significantly bitter beer featuring a strong espresso smell (and a beer that I absolutely want to taste with some vanilla ice cream).

My favorite cheese of the session was Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog, a ripened goat cheese that was salty, zesty, and had just the right texture to bite into. Oliver, by the way, described an omelet made with Humboldt Fog and Granny Smith apples; damn, that sounds good. He paired the Humboldt Fog with the Brooklyner Weisse.

I also enjoyed Mrs. Quicke’s cheddar (paired by Oliver with the IPA) and a Cave-Aged Gruyère (paired with the Monster Ale). I could definitely try those again.

One cheese I definitely don’t want to try again was the Pont l’Eveque, which smelled and tasted so cabbage-y that I couldn’t even finish the sample given to me. I’m a big fan of big flavors, and I usually take to smelly cheese; this one, though, was too much. It made me have visions of a nuclear cabbage (or turnip) explosion. I’ll pass, thanks.

It was certainly an enjoyable class. The thoughtful Oliver was so downright dapper that I wanted to slip him my phone number. Sadly enough, I didn’t have the chance. For that matter, I didn’t really have the chance to flirt with anyone tonight. Will I ever find the beer-swilling, cheese-loving man for me?

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