The Class Pairings
“Greta’s Fair Haven” – raw goat’s milk, Massachusetts + “Brettanomyces Lambicus“, Germany
“Drunk Monk” – raw cow’s milk, Connecticut + Sierra Nevada “Torpedo”, California (bonus cheese – “Dutch Farmstead”, Connecticut)
“Barely Buzzed” – pasteurized cow’s milk, Utah + “Cody’s Original North Shore Amber Ale”, Massachusetts
“Vermont Shepherd” – raw sheep’s milk, Vermont + Pretty Things “St. Botolph’s Town”, Massachusetts
“Point Reyes Blue” – raw cow’s milk, California + North Coast ” Old Rasputin”, California
Cheese and beer?
Shouldn’t that be cheese and wine?
The paradigm is cheese + wine = high brow whereas cheese + beer = low brow. Yet the paradigm has become worn, clichéd, all fusty and so twentieth century. With a burgeoning American artisanal cheese movement producing cheeses that rival or even surpass those of Europe and a burgeoning American craft beer movement, the time has come to consider cheese and beer as partners for pairing.
With this intent, Stephanie Santos, cheesemonger, and Dinah MacPhail, beer geek, presented the class “Cheese + Beer” at Central Bottle Wine + Provisions.
The tasting began with a bloomy rind goat cheese, “Ada’s Fair Haven”, paired with the sour and acidic German Lambic and concluded with the “Point Reyes Blue” paired with the august Imperial Stout, “Old Rasputin”. All cheeses in the tasting were from American producers. Some like the iconic David Major and Vermont Shepherd were in the forefront of the American artisanal cheese movement and others like Beehive Creamery in Utah are relative newcomers. Regardless of the cheesemaker’s tenure, all the cheeses were well crafted and revealed great depths of flavor. Credit must be given to Stephanie Santos who, due to her experience in fine dining, knows when a cheese is perfectly ripe and ready to be savored. With the exception of the Lambic, all brews were American and like the cheeses were made by both pioneers in the craft beer phenomena – Sierra Nevada – and recently emerging brewers – and local darlings – Pretty Things. Dinah MacPhail’s choices were spot on for the cheeses being tasted.
During the tasting, both presenters explained their rationale behind each pairings, elaborated on both the cheeses and the beers and then invited conversation about the match-ups.
And the verdict? There were converts in the class – beer and cheese ARE made for each other. That lowly ploughman’s lunch – farmhouse cheddar and a pint of bitter – can now be a thing of elevation. As for myself, I was converted awhile ago and it was heartening to see others embrace the idea that cheese and beer can be perfect partners.
Thanks to both Stephanie and Dinah for presenting such an interesting, informative and well curated class.
All cheeses and brews from the tasting are available at
Central Bottle Wine + Provisions 196 Mass Ave Cambridge MA