Manchego + Beer: Round 1

Experimenting with some beer and cheese pairings … the best sort of experiments!

For the March edition of #temptingtuesday I asked the Twitter and Facebook world for their best beer match with manchego cheese …

#temptingtuesday happens on the 1st Tuesday of the month where I throw a question into the social media world, a beery question, one that might set your tastebuds thinking and one that will tempt me. I get inspired and I blog the delicious results.

temptingtuesday ... giving me even more excuses to match beer and food!

I got a lot of responses and they were quite diverse, so diverse and oh-so intriguing so I had to try at least three of the pairings. Hence, three separate posts. Oh and it’s also a really neat way for me to get a lot of mileage from one topic. Aren’t I a clever little cookie?

The Beer …

Westmalle Dubbel – a real, authentic, proper Trappist beer meaning it’s from a brewery where trappist monks either make or oversee the making of their beers. There are only seven such breweries in the world.

This gorgeous Belgian baby pours a muddy brown with flavours of light citrus, some earthy qualities with a warm hug at the end in the form of a fruitcake-like booziness.

The Cheese …

Manchego, aged for three months, that I got from The Re-Store in Leederville. A Spanish sheep’s milk cheese that must be made in the La Mancha region of Spain in order to be a true Manchego.

I love this cheese. It’s nutty, semi-hard with some tropical fruit flavours and a parmesan-like sharpness.

Westmalle and Manchego ... a pretty decent night in

Together …

Westmalle Dubble was just a little too boozy for the cheese. Outside of this it would have been a terrific match, the warm earthy flavours of the beer complimenting the nuttiness in the cheese, the soft tropical flavours of the manchego matching the fresh citrus in the beer.

A Silly Analogy to sum things up …

Like school kids who catch the same bus but aren’t friends –  they could be really good together but one distinctive element, in this case booze, stops them from playing nicely together.

Nevermind … learning by trying is a great way to approach beer and cheese pairings!

 

 

Some girls get flowers, I get beer

I like beer more than I like flowers so it’s a good thing I have such a wonderful partner who often brings me gifts of the beery variety

Flowers are nice. They are pretty, they smell good but let’s face it, you can’t drink them. You can’t savour a well poured flower in your glass. You can’t share a flower with your friend and say “Try this! It goes really well with the Gorgonzola”. This is why I like beer more than I like flowers. Lucky for me I have a wonderful boyfriend who often chooses to surprise me with presents of beer rather than bunches of flowers.

Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine 10.5% ABV
Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine
American style Barleywine | 10.5% ABV

My partner got me this after I had my first taste of beers by Oskar Blues Brewery, Colorado (US) and raved on and on about them. I grabbed them on one of my trips to Cellarbrations Carlisle, getting their Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Deviant Dale’s IPA and G’Knight Imperial Red Ale. You can check out my blog post on those here. Since I enjoyed them so much he figured I’d like their collaboration with Brew Dog.

He was right.

Barleywines: Big ass beers, originally British, lovingly adopted by the US, both American and English Barleywines are acknowledged as a style with the major difference largely coming down to the almighty hop.

What was the beer like? Well, imagine you got a fruitcake, turned up the spices and plums and in your enthusiasm you were overly generous with the rum. Then you got a little distracted and burnt the bottom of your cake so the base caramelised a little. Then you liquified it.

Chimay Gold 4.8% ABV
Chimay Gold
4.8% ABV

When my partner was beer shopping at Cellarbrations Carlisle the topic of trappist beers came up resulting in this Belgian baby landing in my hot little hands.

Trappist: “where brewing is performed by, or under the supervision of, Trappist monks” [Oxford Companion to Beer] of which there are only seven breweries in existence – 6 in Belgium and 1 in the Netherlands. Not strictly a style as such as it’s their authenticity rather than similar flavours/ingredients that categorise them. In short – monk make awesome brewers.

It’s been a while between Chimay’s for me so it was nice to come back to one of the first breweries I got to know when I got hooked on beer many years ago.

Aromas reminded me of the base of a lemon cheesecake but there’s much more happening, I got hints of melon, lemon and banana. Soft yet with a full mouth feel with big spices coming through as the beer warmed up a little, loved the clove and lemony flavours.

8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA Double IPA | 8.8% ABV
8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA
Double IPA | 8.8% ABV

We love our hops in this house so when my partner gave me this present it was only a matter of hours before it was opened.

8 Wired: from New Zealand, brewer Søren Eriksen, well known for their HopWired IPA

His timing was great, my two most recent visits to The Pourhouse in Dunsborough have involved drinking the little brother of this beer, suitably named Semiconductor – a session IPA at a very reasonable 4.4% abv (you can read more here if you’re so inclined). Now it was time to see how it’s big brother stacked up.

It was really freakin’ good.

The aromas on the Superconductor are big and punchy, so much so that I found the flavours weren’t as strong as I was expecting. But don’t get the wrong impression, this is a very flavoursome beer. Toffee, citrus and tropical fruits with the emphasis on pineapple. The mouth feel verges on oily with a long dry and citrusy finish.