Old Stock Ale + Gorgonzola

Just for a change of pace, just for something different, here’s (yet another) post about a delicious beer and cheese pairing!

Just for a change of pace, just for something different, here’s (yet another) post about a delicious beer and cheese pairing!

The pairing of barley wine and English Stilton is one of those absolute classic matches. It basically puts two flavour heavyweights against each other but rather than knock each other out they dance together beautifully. Rich meets rich, sharp meets boozy, fruity meets sweet, beer meets cheese.

Here’s a little tweak on this classic –

The Beer …

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2012

“The original old ales were literally old by beer standards of the day, matured for months and often in wooden casks.”

“Long ageing in wood allowed the ale to mellow in bitterness but also to acquire some flavour from the raw wood, a slightly stale taste from oxidisation, and a dash of sourness from wild yeasts, particularly Brettanomyces, and lactic bacteria with which the brew would invariably come into contact”

The Oxford Companion to Beer

The name suggests this is an old ale or stock ale, two styles very closely related to barley wines. All three are traditionally British with the styles being mentioned by name in the 1700’s, “the definitions of these categories, however, have never been very precise, either technically or historically,” from The Oxford Companion to Beer. As a generalisation we are talking sweet malt driven ales with high alcohol content and rich fruity flavours.

Enough about style, this beer is lovely. The aroma is slightly reminiscent of black forest cake with a lot of red fruit and I do mean a lot. It’s like a red fruit party where they all got rather drunk. Bold fig and raisin flavours are along for the ride and the finish stays rich in fruit.

Love.

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2012

The Cheese …

Castel Regio Gorgonzola DOP Piccante

Piccante is a style of Gorgonzola, more traditional and mature than it’s Dolce counterpart

It was nice to discover this at my local IGA, it’s a small store and it hasn’t won me over like other IGA’s but at least there’s Gorgonzola.

This Gorgonzola is rich, salty and a little creamy but the rind adds a dusty mushroom taste for more complexity.

Together …

The old barley wine and blue cheese combination once again holds water. The rich fruit flavours of the beer matching the richness of the cheese and providing a nice contrast to the saltiness.

Together, these two are just lovely. Not subtle in any way, shape or form but indeed very lovely.

North Coast Old Stock Ale and Gorgonzola

Thanks Josh at Cellarbrations Carlisle for recommending the North Coast Old Stock Ale. Great pick!

For more blue cheese and barley wine reading – here’s what I looked through …

 

Yeastie Boys PKB Remix + Gorgonzola

Beer and cheese are two of my favourite things – stupidly delicious with a huge arrays of flavours and they’re just so damn good together. Just like my beer journey, exploring cheese and beer pairings never ends and is first and foremost a lot of fun.

Beer and cheese are two of my favourite things – stupidly delicious with a huge arrays of flavours and they’re just so damn good together. Just like my beer journey, exploring cheese and beer pairings never ends and is first and foremost a lot of fun.

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black Remix 2013 Black IPA 6.5%
Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black Remix 2013
Black IPA
6.5%

The Beer …

Yeastie Boys PKB (Pot Kettle Black) Remix 2013 – a black india pale ale from New Zealand. It’s got de-husked chocolate malt and three different hop varieties – Sauvin, Motueka and Wakatu … and yeah, you may have guessed it, they’re Kiwi hops.

The aroma of this beer reminded me of chocolate buttons, it took me right back to being a ten year old and walking away from the deli with a paper bag full of chocolate buttons. The beer was silky smooth with a dry and tropical fruit finish, the chocolate mellowed out as it warmed up and the chocolate dustiness jumped up.

The Cheese  …

Piccante is a style of Gorgonzola, more traditional and mature than it’s Dolce counterpart

You know you’ve abused your palate when you’re getting stuck into some gorgonzola and you think, “oh that’s lovely and mild”.

The Gorgonzola was Castel Regio Gorgonzola DOP Piccante from the Blue Cow Cheese tent at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape back in November and we’ve been slowly chipping away at it since.

Together  …

I wasn’t confident when I paired these two together but it really worked. The malty chocolate backbone of the beer seemed to go with the warm richness of the cheese. Perhaps it was also the contrast of tropical fruits in beer and saltiness from the cheese.

A Silly Analogy to sum things up …

Like a sketchy blind date your mum set up for you, going into this pairing felt like it could have gone either way – pretty good or very, very average. Luckily these two are great together!

Should you try this at home?

Definitely. I’d normally pair Gorgonzola with rich IPAs or barleywines but this was a delightful surprise!

Yeastie Boys PKB Remix 2013 and Gorgonzola

Moon Dog versus Gorgonzola

Victorian brewery Moon Dog produce some damn good and genuinely interesting beers. Definitely beers that grab my palate just as strongly as they grab my brain, rattle it around and scream “so … many … flavours!”

Moon Dog Barrelly Wine

We all seem to love a collaboration brew, at least I know I do. I have a tendency to lose my mind a little when they appear. I like the idea of two brewers coming together to produce something new and special, something worthy of a little excitement. The “why” behind the beer is always interesting, whether it’s an opportunity for two brewers separated by ocean to work together, I’m looking at you Thorny Goat IPA, or for an occasion like Pig Pen for the Australian International Beer Awards, there’s often a story behind the beer. You never read or hear someone say “dunno, just cause” or “to sell more piss” when asked why they collaborated. Granted it would be a stupid thing to say even if that was the reason but you get my drift. Of course the combination of two breweries doesn’t make for an automatically incredible beer but personally I can’t recall a collaboration beer I’ve disliked. Lucky streak? Perhaps.

Clearly with my rambling about collaboration brews and the photo of the Moon Dog bottle at the start you’ve probably, and correctly, guess that I’m about to launch into post about a Moon Dog collaboration. We have lift off …

Moon Dog teamed up with Anders Kissmeyer, a Danish brewer who was in Australia last year as a judge for the Australian International Beer Awards and to do a few brews with the locals. The result is this tasty little number – Barrelly Wine.

Crafty Pint has a great little write up that you can read here but basically you’re looking at a barley wine style beer that’s been left to it’s own devices in Shiraz and Pinot Noir barrels.

It’s Moon Dog so a fun name and quirky label are a given – I present Love Tap Double Lager and Perverse Sexual Amalgam as supporting evidence,

Moon Dog Beers

Inside the packaging is a beer that doesn’t disappoint. It’s jammy and full of spice, figs and warming booze – a genuinely interesting beer that engages your brain. It also made me sorely wish I had bought more than just one bottle.

We opened this whilst nibbling on some cheese after dinner and only the Gorgonzola managed to hold up and even pair nicely to Barrelly Wine – a fine combination of deep dark sweetness and in-your-face blue.

Gorgonzola - blue gooey goodness

Whilst writing this post a couple of interesting pieces on collaboration brews popped up –

Do craft beer collaborations always make for a good brew? by James Smith

Collabortion fatigue by Max Brearley