How fortunate that our Happy Hour just happened to fall on St. Patty’s day this week! To celebrate, we included three farmhouse Irish cheeses in this week’s offering.
Brawler with Spring Brook Tarentaise: Given the name “Brawler,” you might expect a beer that will knock you out for the night. But this moniker was applied because it is low in alcohol (4.2%) and is good for anyone looking to “go a few rounds.” Like most session beers, it is malty and full-flavored but not aggressive, so we picked a cheese with a similar profile. Tarentaise is an American version of a cheese by the same name from Savoie, France. It, too, is earthy and mild up front but develops great depth as you chew. A simple, pleasing way to start a five-course tasting.
ESA with Coolea: Yards’ Extra Special Ale is a robust and hearty amber ale with a malty body and aromatic hop finish. We wanted to pair it with something sweet but not overtly dessert-ish, and Gouda fit the bill. Fortunately, we have a great one in stock from Ireland. Coolea is made by Dutch immigrants to Ireland, combining some of the best milk in the world with one of the superior cheese making techniques. Coolea has hints of hazelnuts, butterscotch and honey but is nowhere near as sweet as most of the Dutch Gouda.
Philadelphia Pale Ale with Ardrahan: Brewed with pilsner malt, Philadelphia Pale Ale is crisp and hoppy, bursting with citrus flavors and aromas, and it was just named one of the best Pale Ales in the country by the New York Times. We agree. It matched surprisingly well with Ardrahan, a funky, washed-rind Trappist style that tastes of peanuts and raw vegetables (in all the right ways). This was a perfect example of two starkly contrasting flavor profiles finding common ground and elevating each other. A wonderfully complex pairing.
India Pale Ale with Isle of Mull Cheddar: This week’s rendition of IPA and Cheddar. Yards’ IPA is one of our favorites, featuring citrusy, floral and spicy tones that are bold-yet-balanced. This Isle of Mull cheddar is unique. The cattle that give their milk to this cheese feed on the spent grains of a local scotch distillery. The effect of this diet is discernible in the finish, which is grapey and sweet, almost like a fortified wine.
General Washington’s Tavern Porter with Gubbeen: A true Philadelphia gem, the recipe for this Porter is derived from one that George Washington created himself to help appease his soldiers. It is dark and warming with sweet molasses being the underlying flavor. We were initially thinking either a blue or a Gruyere, but opted instead for Gubbeen which, despite its starkly different production method, is texturally similar to Gruyere with similar strength. Venturing away from the norm and trying something unique turned out to be the best decision of the night. This pairing was voted the best by our guests!
Please join us next week when Jen from Triumph Brewing will join us. Wednesday from 5-8, and FREE, as always!