Cheese and beer to ring in the leap year

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cheese and beer to ring in the leap year

This past Friday we had a party to celebrate leap year. Why a party for leap year you ask? Why not!

I had been wanting to do a beer and cheese paring party for a while and my wife really liked the idea. Since leap year was a holiday not claimed by any of our family or friends, we decided to grab it.

About 30 people braved the winter conditions and showed up to taste 12 different kinds of beer and cheese combos. Six of the beers were brewed right there in my house. We had assigned people cheeses to bring and we supplied the beer. Here is the list of the brews and the cheese that went with them;

Commercial Beers
Gjetost with Barley Wine - Druid Fluid - Middle Ages Brewing Company
Swiss/Gouda with Bock - Saranac Black Diamond Bock - Matt Brewing Compnay
Fresh Mozzarella with Doppelbock - EKU 28 - Kulmbacher Brauerei AG
Havarti with Pilsner - Brooklyn Pilsner - Brooklyn Brewing Company
Mascarpone with Fruit Beer - Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat - Boston Brewing Company/ Blueberry Wheat
Feta with Marzen - Saranac Octoberfest - Matt Brewing Company/Lowenbrau AG

My beers
Munster and Havarti with Belgian Tripel - Tripel Nipple
Hot Brie IPA - Lagunitas Clone
Parmesan with Bavarian Lager - Samuel L. Jackson
Havarti with Asian Lager - Kaffir Lime Imperial Lager
Blue Brie with Porter - Hairy Porter
Aged Cheddars with Stout - Oak Aged Yetti Clone

My notes from a few of the parings

Tipel and Munster - These two contrast quite a bit. The creamy smooth Havarti would complement this warm sweetness of the tripel a little better - 6 out of 10

Pilsner and Havarti - The sweet creamy flavor of the Havarti works well with the citrus hints in the Brooklyn pilsner. This is a healthy mix of flavors that is complex, but good. I tried it with a cracker and the saltiness made for an even deeper experience. 7.5 out of 10

Bock and Swiss - This was a prefect mix. The sweet caramel flavors of the bock were really contrasted well with the bland dry subtle flavors of a good Swiss. These two went together very well. 8.5 out of 10

Barley Wine and Goat Cheese - If Nick reads this, he should give the name of the cheese because it's a great combo. So much that I can say I was not crazy about either one of these on their own. When put together, it was a totally different experience. The sweet caramel flavor of the cheese acted like a desert with the barley wine. This really off-set the intense flavors of the barley wine. 9 out of 10.


This was a great party. I highly recommend it for any homebrewers or beer enthusiasts out there. I had people trying beers they would have never considered tasting before. Everyone said they had a great time and they want us to do it again some time. We might just have to because I still have a lot of beer and a bunch of cheese, so if you want a private tasting, shoot me an email and I'll sign you up!

Even Meatball got into the cheese (by standing under me while I was cutting the cheese anyway). Cheers!

UPDATE: My wife reminded me of the fancy beer description cards we made up (mostly from Beer Advocate) and the two quizzes we made up, one for leap year and one for beer. Nick won the Leap Year quiz and tied for the beer quiz with my wife's cousin. Prizes for the winners were pilsner beer glasses and a beer mug with a decorative cheese/beer plate.

We also had some cool tasting glasses that looked like little 5oz pint glasses. All this was possible because my wife is AWESOME.

1 comment:

nick said...

the goat cheese that was paired with the barley wine was gjetost, specifically ski queen. that was one of favorite pairings. another top in my book was the sam adams cherry wheat (which is not one of my favorites b/c it is so sweet) with feta, travis had a couple different varieties of feta so i was forced to try the pairing multiple times. I will say that the parts of the night that I can remember where a great time (apparently I gave my girl friend who was driving me a hard time about not going to Taco Bell on the way home)