The sour blues

Leave a comment

October 17, 2013 by odbrie

So here we go with round 2 of pairing! Sours and Blues. Originally, the pairing was supposed to have only one beer, but the Rodenbach Grand Cru didn’t pair well with a few of the cheese and I happen to have a Duchesse De Bourgogne in the mini fridge so we drank two!

CAM00556First the cheeses. Going from 1 o’clock and then counter-clockwise (stupid, I know. This is how my brain may work) Black River Blue, then Caveman Blue, and finally Point Reyes Bay Blue. We had Black River Blue at the house. It’s a standard, mild, everyday blue from North Hendren Cheese Co-op in Wisconsin. SCONNIE! Pasteurized, cow, aged 2-4 months. Second is the Caveman Blue from Rogue Creamery. Rogue is a creamery from Central Point, Oregon. It’s a sweet, creamy cheese with a natural rind. It has caramel and vanilla undertones but still has a strong blue flavor. Raw cow’s milk and cave aged for at least 6 months. Third, Bay Blue from Point Reyes Farmstead. Off the bat it remind me (and most!) of Stilton. It’s great. I was able to taste it month ago at the Fork (the restaurant/event room at Point Reyes Farmstead). Man, is it fantastic. It has a sweet, mellow flavor with a fudgy texture. It has earthy, nutty, and salty notes. It’s pasteurized cow’s milk, natural rind, aged over 90 days.

Now to the beer, we have two options this time:

CAM00567CAM00576 

A little bit about each beer. Rodenbach Grand Cru is from Brouwerij Rodenbach in Belgium. It’s a sour red that is available year round. The Grand Cru is a blend of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 of beer aged 2 years in large oak vats. The proportion of oak matured beer contributes to its fruity taste and complexity compared to its younger counterpart. The beer has a pretty clear pour with a nice deep red color. There is a high sweetness of cherry on the first sip but then it becomes more tart. Second, we have the Duchesses de Bourgogne, a Flanders Red Ale. This is a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks. It also pours a deep red/purple color, but as you can see by the picture it’s a bit more transparent the Rodenbach. It has a subtle, sweet flavor with a nice tart finish. Both of these beers are slightly higher in carbonation, which will be good in this tasting because the blues that I picked are quite dense. The carbonation in the beer will help cleanse the fattiness of the cheese off the tongue. Both of these sours are great to drink when first breaking into the sour world.

CAM00549  

Let’s get tasting! First we are going to start with the Black River Blue. and the Rodenbach. The Black River Blue is super mild and honestly, the Rodenbach completely wiped the flavor of the cheese away. Same goes with the Duchesses. Honestly, this cheese is not meant to be paired with such sours. I would use this particular cheese in cooking rather than a cheese plate.

Second, the Caveman Blue. This cheese is sweet and fruity for a blue. At first, we all agreed that the Caveman Blue went splendid with the Rodenbach. The pairing of the sour to the blue brought out the sweeter taste in the cheese. However, I found that CAM00573the beer caused a bit of a lingering bitter finish that the cheese alone did not have. When I had the cheese with the Duchesses all the sweetness, plus a hint of vanilla, was complimented but the bitter finished dissipated. I think overall I thought the Duchesse de Bourgogne was a better pair. What I did like is that both beers washed away the denseness of the cheese. Both brought out the complex flavors of the blue, but one just paired better. 

The Bay Blue was last. This particular wheel was not as strong as I had remembered but it was still delicious. We tried the Rodenbach first and unfortunately it did not pair with the Bay Blue. It overpowered the cheese and you could not even taste all the deliciousness of the cheese. The Bay Blue does have sweetness to it, but it also has a more nutty, earthy flavor like a Stilton. The nutty, earthy flavor was not brought out by the sour. When we tried it with the Duchesses the pairing was a bit better, but nothing exceptional. I would like to try this cheese with a milk stout because they are sweeter, but with a bit of a roasty characteristic. 

After all was said and done, we decided the Caveman Blue went best with the Duchesses. Determined to have a perfect pairing with the Rodenbach, my roommate suggested trying the crumbled Gorgonzola in the fridge. Inspired, I grabbed the blue and a bit of locally sourced honey we had purchased. This honey is amazing because it is slightly sweet with underlying fennel flavors. The Rodenbach brought out the sweet flavors in the Gorgonzola as well as inspired the hint of fennel in the honey to approach the surface. This lingering fennel and honey flavor cut the slight bitter finish on the beer. 

CAM00580

Top winner with each beer:

Rodenbach Grand Cru: Gorgonzola and Honey

Duchesses de Bourgogne: Caveman Blue

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Righteous Cheese

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Murray's Cheese Blog

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

CHEESE NOTES

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

culture: the word on cheese

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Miss Cheesemonger

A San Francisco-based blog celebrating artisan cheese, food, and living.

Blog | Di Bruno Bros.

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

PLEASE BRING ME MY WINE

Bringing You The Best Bits About Drinking Wine

Fromage Homage

A British Isles Cheese Odyssey

Gordon ("Zola") Edgar

"The Barbara Mandrell of the cheese counter"

The Mobile Monger

Spreading the word of good curd!

THE RYES OF THE RINDS

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Cheese and Champagne

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Cheese Underground

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Madame Fromage

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

It's Not You, It's Brie

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Kitchn | Inspiring cooks, nourishing homes

"A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food"

Bon Bouche

A Good Mouthful...of Cheese

The Cheese Traveler

A Cheese, Meat and Specialty Food Shop in the Heart of DelSo, Albany, NY

Saxelby Cheesemongers Almanac

Purveyors of Fine American Farmstead Cheese

%d bloggers like this: