There are many sublime ciders that work well with cheese, and the wine industry’s marketing machine would like you to think they are formage’s ideal pair. But to me, nothing compare to the breadth of flavors available when pairing beer and cheese. Recently, my favorite local cheese monger, Murray’s Cheese, paired up with hyper-local beer superstar Kelso of Brooklyn to explore this ideal, culinary bond.
Billed as a “happy hour” these after-work Murray’s tastings are great for passionate foodies who don’t want a full on cheese 101 geek-out. Instead of a formal, seated, journey though these cheese, guests were encouraged to walk around, pair at their own pace, and discuss the cheese with friends and pair them with on of three Kelso beers poured by head brewer Sam Richardson. All the the cheese was outstanding but the clear favorite was >La Tur, a Buttery, soft cheese from the Piedmont region using cow, goat, and sheep milk. We paired this with Kelso Pilsner who’s edgy, limestone notes helped cut through the cheese’s richness in a perfect balance of crisp and smooth.
Another favorite was the Vacherin Fribourgeois, a cloth bound Swiss mountain cheese. While I would usually pair a Belgian, farmhouse ale with such a funky, grassy cheese, Kelso’s dubblebock – the Recessnator – used it’s malty backbone to contrast the earthy cheese in a battle royal of funk versus sweet.
I’m not much of a happy hour hero these days – both my wallet and my liver ask that I be kind to them and drink responsibly – but it seems that the Murray’s Cheese Happy Hour is a perfect way to forego the sports bar and wind down at the end of the week with friends. Sadly, the Kelso Happy Hour has passed but keep your eye on the Murray’s calendar more happy hours in the coming weeks.