It was an ugly, rainy night outside, but inside, our thoughts were on the sunny patio season just ahead. More specifically, on all the brews and bites we anticipated enjoying on those sunny patios.
Our group has participated in a wine and cheese pairing, so we were excited to see how beer and cheese would stack up.
To help us pick the right pairs, we relied on Unknown Brewing's owner Brad Shell and the folks at Orrman’s Cheese Shop.
Photo credit: Jessica at Slice of Jess
Pairing One: Ginger Wheat beer with Landaff and mango salsa
German-style yeast is responsible for the banana and bubble gum flavors associated with many wheat beers. Unknown brews the Ginger Wheat with an American yeast strain to avoid those flavors and allow the ginger flavor to come through.
This yeast is also why the Ginger Wheat looks clear, not cloudy, like many wheat beers. Another fun fact about this beer: wheat mash is sweeter than barley mash.
An excellent patio beer, the Ginger Wheat pairs well with fruits and salsas. Naturally, we took the best of both worlds and made a fruit salsa. The beer was also paired with Landaff, a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese with a mild flavor.
Photo credit: Sarah at Bucket List Tummy
Paring Two: Pre Game Session Ale with Flory’s Truckle and pizzas
Light enough to drink all day, this session ale is hopped up on flavor. It pairs well with pizza - we enjoyed a variety courtesy of Craft Tasting Room - and an aged cheddar.
Pairing Three: Over the Edge IPA with Barren County Bleu and Buffalo chicken bites
An American IPA made with five grains and West Coast hops, Over the Edge is a bold, full-bodied beer. A beer like that needs a food that can stand up to it, and spicy flavors hit the mark. IPAs are also a great pallet cleanser for deep fried foods.
Try pairing an IPA with a flavorful, but not overpowering, blue cheese. You can also use an IPA to marinate meats before grilling.
Photo credit: Allie at Eat Drink CLT
Pairing Four: Dirty Commie Heathen Russian Imperial Stout with Fourme d’ Ambert and chocolate brownies
As if Imperial Stouts weren't already delicious enough, Unknown adds bourbon-soaked cherries to its Dirty Commie Heathen. The rich flavor of this beer pairs well with dark chocolate and Cherry Garcia. We managed to get in the dark chocolate by enjoying some brownies, but skipped the ice cream in favor of another delicious blue cheese.
Pairing Five: Raisin the Roof Belgian Quad with Toggenburger and bacon-wrapped dates
With hints of cinnamon raisin bread from the cognac-simmered raisins and cinnamon that is added during the brewing process, Unknown's Belgian Quad was a favorite of many. It paired well with salty-sweet bacon-wrapped dates and Toggenburger, a cow’s milk cheese aged for eight to 10 months.
Photo credit: Rachelle at Beer Girl Cooks
Thank you to Unknown Brewing for hosting us, Brad Shell for his beer and food pairing recommendations, and Orrman’s Cheese Shop for the beer and cheese pairing advice. Cheers!
Check out Charlotte Food Blogger Chrissie's take on the event at her blog Off The Eaten Path.