Thursday, May 7, 2009

5/7/09 - Artisanal Cheese: American Craft Beer and Artisanal Cheese

Tonight we attended the Artisanal Cheese class on American Craft beers (mainly from Rogue Ale Brewery in Portland, OR) and American Cheeses.... now this of course wasn't referring to the plastic wrapped singles you get in the dairy case but instead small batch artisanal (meaning the cheesemaker sources his milk but does not raise livestock) or farmstead (the cheesemaker does it all...raises the cows/sheep/ goats, milks them and then makes the cheese)
We had the pleasure of tasting 4 beers: Rogue's Mom's Hefeweizen, Younger's Special Bitter and Chocolate Stout and Elysian Brewing's The Immortal IPA (Seattle ,WA) . Of all the beers I think that I liked the Special Bitter or IPA the best, however it was fun learning about all of them (the chocolate stout is an oatmeal stout base w. real dark chocolate! yummy but a bit rich if you are having more that a glass) And she mentioned a very interesting sounding new beer that Rogue is making for Morimoto (ie the Iron Chef) which is a jasmine flavored IPA.... I am definitely on the look out for that one!
We also tasted 6 cheeses (in order of strength): Purple Haze (Cypress Grove Chevre, N.CA), Nettle Meadow Kunik (Nettle Meadow Goat Farm, Thurman, NY), Mont Saint-Francis (Capriole Farms, Greenville, IN), Uplands Pleasent Ridge (WI) , Fiscalini Bandaged Cheddar (Fiscalili Farmstead, Modesto, CA) and Crater Lake Blue (Rogue Creamery, Central Point, OR). Of the cheeses I definitely am a lover of all things creamy.... the Purple Haze was the first to disappear from my plate with its fresh, sweet herby flavor followed by the Kunik which was tangy and creamy cheese with a very soft and smooth texture. The only one that was left was the Blue and only because it was so strong a tiny bite was all I needed to get the full taste.

in all a fun night however I think that the wine tasting was a bit better as the teacher was more reserved and gave you more time to taste, talk and come to your own conclusions instead of rushing to the "right" answer. (hopefully a write up of that night will be coming soon.... once I find those notes!)