One of my stated goals this year is to do more work on beer and food pairings. So, here is what will hopefully be the first of this year’s tasting reviews paired with some kind of food.
Cheese is probably my favorite pairing with beer. There are so many different cheeses and so many different beers that the pairings are endless. My favorite cheeses almost all fall into the semi-hard category. It is not uncommon for me to buy a gouda, smoked gouda, manchego, or an aged cheddar along with a good bottle of beer and make that my lunch/afternoon snack.
This review started with an inexpensive smoked gouda I found at my local grocery store. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases. Anyway, after I bought the cheese I scrounged in my fridge to find a beer that worked with a creamy strongly smoked cheese. A BBA tripel seemed like the perfect fit.
The Force pours with a nice amber color and moderate head. The aroma is a classic tripel aroma, funky Belgian yeast esters, mixed with the caramelly bourbon aromas from the barrel aging. On the face of it, that sounds like it would be almost sickly sweet to smell. However, the aromas work well together and add to one another not overwhelming the drinker.
You get a noticeable, but not overwhelming alcohol taste along with the Belgian candi and funkiness and bourbon sweetness. The caramel tastes from the candi and barrels reminds one of caramel candies you buy in the grocery stores that stick to your teeth when you try to chew them.
This is where the cheese comes through for you with the smoked cutting through the sweetness. In turn, the sweetness combines with the creaminess of the gouda much like a glass of milk works with a chocolate cake. This was a pretty successful pairing because the beer and the cheese worked well together on a couple of different levels. If you have a free afternoon and like beer and cheese, this is a more the worthwhile way to spend it.