| Thursday, April 16, 2015
By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
Wine and cheese? Of course. Beer and cheese? Sure! Honestly, if you ask me, cheese pairs quite well with…pretty much everything, because I just plain love cheese. This week, I was lucky enough to join in on a cheese and spirit pairing. Although I’ve happily enjoyed cheese boards at restaurants and parties (because, as previously mentioned, cheese and I are grand old friends), this was my first time doing a dedicated tasting with pairings.
The cheeses were from Clock Shadow Creamery (with some from its parent, Cedar Grove Cheese) and the spirits came from Great Lakes Distillery. First up were the spreadable cheeses. Fresh chevre paired with Rehorst Gin and quark with Rehorst Citrus-Honey Vodka. Next we moved on to “Weird Sisters,” a water buffalo and cow milk blend alongside Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin. This was my favorite pairing of the day, thanks in no small part to the deliciousness of each individual element. But they were even better when brought together, and a light bulb went off over my head: this is the point of pairings! The best qualities of the cheese brought out the best qualities of the spirit and vice versa. Amazing.
We continued with Donatello, a sheep’s milk cheese whose nutty flavor was complimented by Roaring Dan's Rum, and Banquo, another sheep milk cheese, paired with Kinnickinnic Whiskey. (And yes, your English major blogger was loving all the Shakespeare references.) Finally, it was time for a fresh cheese curd with grappa, one of the Artisan Series Brandies. Now, those of you who are in the know about the great Wisconsin tradition that is the cheese curd know that the squeak is the thing. A fresh curd will squeak between your teeth when you bite into it, and I can say beyond any doubt that this was the squeakiest curd I’ve ever eaten. Cheese curd fans: get yourself to Clock Shadow Creamery posthaste. They make fresh curds on Wednesday and Friday mornings. You want them straight out of the vat, just like these.
Clock Shadow Creamery and Great Lakes Distillery have done pairings in the past as special events, so keep a look out for the next time one comes up – or try out the pairings I mentioned here at home! Uber Tap Room at Wisconsin Cheese Mart regularly hosts events pairing cheese with beer, cocktails and more, and offers a menu of cheese plates specially chosen to pair with beer or wine every day. Cheese is great on its own (so great), but adding a special pairing to your tasting both enhances your enjoyment of both components and makes it all feel a little bit more special!