ABQ Beer Week Review: Sierra Nevada beer and cheese pairing

Posted: May 23, 2014 by cjax33 in ABQ Beer Week 2014
Tags: ,

Greetings! This is Stoutmeister. During ABQ Beer Week 2014 there are so many events that the members of the Brew Crew cannot cover, so we’ve enlisted some special correspondents to report back on the events they attend. First up are the Montoyas (@NMbeerlovers on Twitter) with a review of the Sierra Nevada beer and cheese pairings from O’Niell’s on Thursday night.

I can’t think of a better way to start ABQ Beer Week than sipping beers with the Sandia Mountains as a back drop. This didn’t seem to be an event that attracted craft drinkers to come out to. They ended up missing out. Sierra Nevada/O’Niell’s served up six different beers and seven cheeses with suggested pairings. A lot of these were spot on as they ended up drawing out flavors in the beer that were not apparent before. The pairings were as follows.

All the tasty cheeses brought out some unique flavors in the Sierra Nevada beers.

All the tasty cheeses brought out some unique flavors in the Sierra Nevada beers.

Beer #1: Summerfest with Port Salut Semi, a soft cow’s milk cheese from Pays de la Loire France. Mild but mature.

Beer #2: Kellerweis with Camembert, a soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese. First made in the late 18th century at Camembert, Normandy. Comparable to Brie.

Beer #3: Ovila Saison with Mandarin-Goat cheese. Cheese #1 was California soft goat cheese. Sharp bite to mild finish. Cheese #2 was  Dubliner, an Irish Pastuerized hard cheddar. Sharp bite with nutty finish.

Beer#4: Pale Ale with Gjeitost, a pure goat’s milk cheese and pronounced “Yay-toast”. Hints of caramel, acid, and salt. Considered the cheese that’s closest to peanut butter.

Beer #5: Torpedo IPA with Blue Stilton, a King of Blue veined cheese. Strong flavor and odor. Only made in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottingham, England.

Beer #6: Harvest Hop #291 with Havarti, a Danish cheese that is always served young. Buttery flavor with hazelnut notes.

The best pairing off the suggested list that I had was the Sierra Nevada Harvest Single Hop IPA with the Havarti. The dill in the cheese was a perfect compliment to the beer and might not have been as good if it was just a standard Havarti.

The worst pairing was the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA with the Blue Stilton cheese.  The veins of mold in the Stilton were just too much for this beer. It was overpowering my palate.

Probably the best pairing was when I had the Ovila Saison with mandarin, and Gjeitost cheese. The Gjeitost was exactly as described on the pairing sheet. There is nothing to say except it reminded me of peanut butter all the way down to mouthfeel. When paired with the saison, it tasted like burnt caramel with orange Belgian candy sugar.

The thing I took away from this event was a new found appreciation for various non-IPA beers and food. It’s pretty damn hard to get anything but (insert favorite IPA here) and pizza, or IPA and anything else for that matter. The European beer styles took my beliefs to task tonight by exceeding the IPAs in cheese pairing. Hopefully everyone will make sure to get to the Marble cheese pairing as this was every bit as interesting as any full-blown beer dinner I’ve ever been to.


Guest writer -G


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