Beer ‘n’ Cheese Pairing #2: Another Barrel Aged Catastrophe?

Greetings once again.  I am here to give you the notes from my latest beer and cheese pairing.   I was going to post about my brewing experience but decided to wait until I had more information about the beer itself.  The beer and cheese pairing comes after a trip to the Perfect Pour in Columbia, MD.  I can’t seem to walk in there without spending over $100 on all the funky beer and whiskey.   The pairing is Trader Joe’s Meadow Kaas Spring Cheese, Trader Joe’s Double Cream Gouda, and a cheese marked smoked seaside cheddar (no label sorry).  The beers are going to be Heavy Seas and Devils Backbone collaboration Land Ho black pilsner, Troegs Flying Mouflan Barleywine, and Black Diamond Brandy Grand Cru.  These beers should give us a nice mix of flavors for tasting these cheeses.

From left to right: Gouda, Spring Cheese, Smoked Cheddar

Land Ho!:  I know it seems weird that Heavy Seas and Devils Backbone decided to get together but the DC Maryland Virginia area is kind of like the tri state area.  Everyone visits and its no surprise to see these two up and coming breweries working together.  It would be like Flying Fish working with Brooklyn Brewery.  Not that far of a commute.  Devil’s Backbone makes some great beers and has been much more available in the area since Savor.  Heavy Seas is one of my favorite local breweries to frequent because they happen to have fun beer and meat pairing events.  They also always break out funky cask creations for events so if you ever hear that a Heavy Seas cask is on tap, get yourself a glass because you might be in for a real treat.   This beer is a nice balance of hoppy pilsner with some great chocolate and roasted notes from the dark malt.  It balances the weight of the roasted malt with the hops very well.

Another excuse to break out the themed glasses

Trader Joe’s Meadow Kaas Spring Cheese:  The beer really brings out the grassiness of the cheese but the roasted malt doesn’t compliment the overall flavor of the cheese.  The cheese clearly works well with hops and not so much with darker beers.

Trader Joe’s Double Cream Gouda: The cheese really does melt in your mouth and it does well to bring out some nice complimenting grassy floral hop flavors as well as bringing some hazelnut and toasted almond flavor to the party.  Some might find it a little bitter at first but the lasting flavors are very mellow and complex.

Smoked seaside cheddar: The beer starts to foam when you sip it with this cheese and brings out strong notes of cappuccino and coffee.  The hops are really masked by the smokiness of the cheddar.

“Is it Mouflaflouflan?”

Troegs Flying Mouflan: Yes it is spelled like that.  This is Troeg’s barleywine which is an amped up version of the popular nugget nectar.  It brings some great chocolate and dark fruit characteristics as well as a strong hop character that works well with rich cheeses.  I would also recommend that you age this if at all possible because this beer would do well over time given the flavors and the sweetness.

Spring Cheese: The beer and cheese have a very nice tacky mouth feel and really enhances the resin and bitter hop notes.  This also helps to bring out the grassiness and pasture flavors of the cheese.  It really does put you in the mind of grassy farm.

Gouda: This cheese seems to work as a nice blank slate to pull out all the subtle flavors of a beer.  I get nice hop flavors, dark fruit and a little cocoa all mixed in with a mellowness of the cheese.

Smoked Cheddar: The smoke really does a good job changing this beers flavor.  It brings out subtle licorice and herbal notes like a thyme.  Its silky and the hops work well with the smokey meaty character of the cheese.

Black Diamond Brandy Grand Cru: I know.  I know.  Last time we used a beer that had a fruitiness to it and it paired TERRIBLY with the cheeses, but you can’t let that deter you forever.  You gotta get back on the horse so you can fall off again (so to speak).  Also that beer was a cluster of very strange flavors that seemed to try to do too much, while this is just a beer subtly aged in Brandy barrels.  Grand Crus seem to vary a lot brewery to brewery but this one imparts very strong chocolate and dark fruit notes while others might be more on the wheat side.

Also available in Bourbon Barrel Aged

Spring Cheese:  Very rich dark cherries and chocolate flavor explode from this beer as well as some of the nice grass notes that we have come to expect from this cheese.  The sweetness is rather overwhelming but still allows you to experience the flavors.

Gouda: The rich creaminess of the cheese tones down the sugar while also helping to enhance the cherry and dark fruit characteristics of the beer more than anything.

Smoked Cheddar: This one clashes too much between the sweet and fruity and the smokey meaty character.  Not a good match but still we got something out of this cheese from the first two pairings.

So there you have it.  Another day another 3 cheeses and beer.  This is why I don’t count my beers…it would a little disconcerting when I saw the actual number.   Up next will be some notes from when my beer stops fermenting as well as notes from a Living Social Beer and Bacon pairing that I attended.  It might seem odd but it was an interesting experience.  Until next time.

Cheers!

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