Last night, I attended another Tria Fermentation School class, this one devoted to pairings of cheese and Victory Brewing Company beers. Victory is a local brewery, based in suburban Philadelphia, known more and more for Hop Devil, its über-hoppy IPA. Victory owner Bill Covaleski and Michael McCaulley, Tria’s wine director, led the session. (McCaulley focused on the cheeses.)
I was already familiar with several of the Victory brews. My favorites were the Whirlwind Wit, a Belgian-style wheat beer that offered some striking anise notes and a refreshing, clean flavor; the Golden Monkey, with its strong (yeast-y) banana on the nose; and the Storm King, Victory’s Imperial Stout, which—if anything—may have had too much coffee-type flavor for me (given my coffee-friendly palate, that’s not easy)
The big revelations last night were the cheeses. Two were goat cheeses: Westfield Farm’s Capri, which was paired with Victory’s Sunshine Weissbier, a light wheat beer; and Haystack Mountain’s Haystack Peak, which Covaleski and McCaulley paired with Victory’s Prima Pils pilsner. Both cheeses were fresh, light, and tangy—everything that you’d want in a summertime cheese. I also really enjoyed Jasper Hill’s Bartlett Blue, a raw cow (ho hum) cheese. The Bartlett Blue was so salty (“wildly salty” is what I wrote in my tasting notes) and yet full of blue-cheese flavor that it actually competed well with Victory’s strong Imperial stout. Jasper Hill makes an even stronger blue cheese, Bayley Hazen Blue, that I need to try. After all, I love blue cheese, and I love strong flavors.
After the session, I started daydreaming about moving back to Oklahoma, raising goats, and making delicious artisanal cheeses. That sounds like a lot of work, though. I’d need help. And as perpetually single as I already am, I’m thinking it might make my social life harder if I had to find goat-friendly dates. Egad.