Oliver's perfect beer and cheese match
He began with Rosary Goat's Cheese matched by his new Sorachi Ale (7.5%), a Belgian-style Saison that uses a Japanese hop called Sorachi. He finishes the beer with a Champagne yeast in the bottle and feels that the ale, with 45 units of bitterness, perfectly cuts the acidity of the goast's cheese.
This was followed by Brillat-Savarin cheese, made with milk and cream, and Local 1, a Belgian-style Tripel, 9% and 32 IBUs. The beer is bottle conditioned and has a fresh tobacco aroma with sweet fruit in the mouth. It perfectly balanced the rich, creamy texture of the cheese.
Hereford Hop has a hop leaf rind that gives a tart, tangy and herbal note to the cheese. This was accompanied by Brooklyn's flagship beer, Brooklyn Lager (5%), a Vienna Red style recreated from a pre-Prohibition recipe. It's brewed with caramalt and Munich malt as well as pale Pilsner malt and is dry hopped. The hops are Cascade, Hallertauer Mittelfruh and Vanguard, which create 30 IBUs. The spicy hop character of the beer went exceptionally well with the tangy cheese.
Two Brooklyn beers matched one cheese, Ossau Iraty from the Pyrenees, made with sheep's milk. Brooklyn Brown Ale (5.9%)has a high proportion of caramalt (15-20%), which gives a roasted grain, cherry fruit and chocolate character to the beer. The beer blended well with the aromatic cheese but the stand-out companion was Dark Matter (8%), a stronger version of Brooklyn Brown that is matured for nine months in casks bought from the bourbon and rye whiskey industries. This maturation produced oaky, woody, vanilla, coconut and ice cream notes in the beer that made it a brilliant blend with the cheese.
Garrett Oliver said it was hard to pick out just one English Cheddar as being the best, but he plumped for Montgomery's. He matched this with his 6.9% East India Pale Ale, with 55 IBUs created by East Kent Goldings. The beer has a peppery hop note, citrus fruit and sappy malt that cut perfectly the complex tangy cheese.
Finally, Colston Bassett Stilton proved that beer is a better companion than Port wine. Garrett admitted that his choice of Chocolate Stout (8.7%) was unusual and stemmed from a mix-up at a tasting he had conducted in the U.S. when the wrong beer was delivered. The stout is brewed with pale, caramalt, wheat malt, chocolate and black malts and is hopped with American Fuggles and Willamette. It has roasted grain, chocolate, spicy hops, vine fruits, espresso coffee and fudge notes that perfectly matched the creamy yet tart, slightly sour cheese.
An intriguing end to an invigorating evening.