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Cheese and Beer Pairings at the ACS Annual Conference

Cheese and Beer Pairings at the ACS Annual Conference


At the American Cheese Society (ACS) annual conference last week, I was lucky enough to attend the California Cheese & Beer Agricultural Originals tasting session, where I sampled five pairings of California cheeses and beers.  I’m excited to share them with you, so lets get started.

Cheese and Beer Pairings at the ACS Annual Conference

Franklin’s Washed Rind Teleme with Linden Street Brewery’s Urban People’s Common Lager:

Franklin Peluso has made Teleme since 1980.  He unveiled a washed rind version of his Claifornia original.  The cheese is matured 30 to 35 days in contrast to the two weeks for original Teleme.  It is repeatedly washed with brine.  It is a more mature cheese with a nutty, yeasty and pungent aroma.

Urban People’s Common Lager is a California Common Lager.  It is woodsy with lightly citrus hop aromas.  This Oakland, CA beer has a firm bitterness and 5.5% alcohol content.  These two paired very well.  The bitterness in the beer paired nicely with the yeasty taste of the cheese.

Cheese and Beer Pairings at the ACS Annual Conference

Vella’s Dry Monterey Jack with Anchor Brewing Company’s Anchor Steam Beer:

The Vella Cheese Company has been making cheese since the 1920s.  This distinctive version of aged Monterey Jack is coated in oil, black pepper and cocoa.  The wheels are aged for 18 to 24 months.  This delicious cheese has a sweet flavor with hints of butterscotch.

Anchor Steam Beer is also a California Common Lager and is brewed in San Francisco.  It is woodsy and minty with Northern Brewer hops playing a key role in flavor development.  This beers toasted malt flavor paired perfectly with the cheese’s peppery sweetness.

Cheese and Beer Pairings at the ACS Annual Conference

Fiscalini’s San Joaquin Gold with Marin Brewing Company’s Three Flowers IPA:

San Joaquin Gold is named after the San Joaquin Valley of Central California.  This cheese is made from the mild of Fiscalini’s herd of registered Holsteins.  It is made in a Fontina style but has more salt and a firmer texture.  It has mild flavors with notes of caramel and salt.  With 16 months of aging, the flavor intensifies and becomes sweeter and nuttier.

Three Flowers is a straw colored Rye IPA from Larkspur, CA.  The name is a reference to the Citra, Cascade and Chinook hops, which give the beer deep pine, grapefruit zest and citrus aromas.  The Three Flowers IPA was my favorite beer of the day.  The pair worked well together, but the flavors of the cheese were a little lost.

Bravo Farms’ Silver Mountain with Drake’s Robusto Porter:

Silver Mountain is an aromatic cheese, and its recipe is a combination of an English Cheddar and Cantal from France.  Its flavors are balanced, deep and rich, with hints of brown butter and caramel, and its texture is similar to cheddar but not as creamy or waxy.

Black Robusto is a chocolaty porter with strong roasted tastes of caramel and sweetness from San Leandro, CA.  Its herbal hops and moderate bitterness adds contrast and depth to the overall flavor.  This was my favorite pairing of the day.  The caramel hints in both the cheese and beer pulled the overall flavors together.

Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk with Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Double Jack IPA:

Red Hawk is a complex and well-balanced cheese with aromas of hay and chalk.  Its taste is full-flavored and savory with a long creamy finish.  Its texture is very yielding, but it retains enough form to not be too runny.

Double Jack IPA is a tad sweet compared to other modern California IPAs.  It has citrus, pine resin, and fruit-loops like hop aromas.  This Paso Robles, CA brew boasts 9.5% alcohol content and restrained bitterness.  The Red Hawk’s strong flavor complimented the bitterness of the Double Jack nicely.

Make sure to check back on Friday for a look at the Cheese and Wine pairings from the conference.