My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.
This year the team at the Taphouse teamed up with Milk the Cow, a licensed fromagerie also located in St Kilda, to present five cheeses matched to five cask ales. Hosts for the night were James, resident beer geek at the Taphouse and Laura from Milk the Cow, together they presented some great matches that this cheese and beer loving gal happily indulged in.
Meredith Farm Chevre + Red Duck Secret Squirrel English Brown Ale
The fresh goat’s milk cheese with it’s uber-creamy texture, big citrus flavours and tart finish was a beautiful way to start the evening. It was a really good and really unexpected match to the Red Duck beer, it’s nuttiness and fruitiness mingled nicely with the cheese’s fruity citrus flavours. The beer itself was by Derek Hale, an award winning home brewer who was invited to brewed with Red Duck, and he added crushed and toasted hazelnuts alongside some Frangelico.
Quickes Mature Cheddar Truckle + Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Pale Ale
The English cheddar, a cows milk clothbound cheddar is aged for twelve months and was everything you want from a strong cheddar – sharp, bitey and a little dusty. “Make fantastic nachos with this!” Laura suggested and I’m sure she’s right! The stone fruit flavours in the cheddar softened the hop bitterness in the beer and acted as a good complement to the English Pale Ale’s soft sweetness.
Wensleydale + Bright Traditional English Best Bitter
Many of us associate Wensleydale with claymation cartoon Wallace & Grommit but we were all surprised to hear that sales jumped huge 27% when the movie was released. Laura also surprised us with the fact the recipe for this cheese originated with a French Cistercian monk who moved to Wensleydale. The cheese is sharp, citrusy and a little dirty, like it was stored in a container that previously held a strong blue. Bright’s traditional English Best Bitter was one of my favourite beers of the night. I loved the sweet malt combined with spicy, peppery and biscuit flavours. The malt sweetness softened the bite from the cheese but didn’t dominate the pairing.
Reypenear VSOP + Illawarra Black IPA
Laura declared this to be her favourite cheese, “cut off a wedge and just chew on it” is a serving suggestion I could really great behind. Biting into this cheese, you can see why she loves it so much. Reypenear is a two year old Dutch cow’s milk Gouda, the long aging process actually results in a 25% loss in original weight. It is washed in hot water to remove the lactic acid and showcase sweetness and caramel flavours. This cheese is hard to come by in Australia so it was extra special to have it on our plates. Paired with the Black IPA with it’s sweet malt and slightly roasty flavours it was a gorgeous complement of sweet cheese and sweet malty beer whilst the roasty bitterness provided just enough contrast to keep things really interesting.
Herve Mons Brillat Savarin + Prickly Moses Barrel Aged Brett Red Ale
The night finished with a bang with this ultra oozy creamy triple cream brie, bloomy mushroom and salty flavours and at 75% fat you just know it’s going to taste amazing. The Prickly Moses Red Ale showed a little funk with sweet plum and raisin notes. Together it was a nice match, funk playing nicely with the mushroom in the brie.