Pardon the week-long absence. I’ve had lots of family things to attend to–most of them pleasant including our oldest graduating from high school and our youngest from kindergarten.

But let’s talk about beer and cheese. Surprisingly, nobody was talking about beer and cheese (or tasting them together) at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago last week. With hundreds of exhibitors, and thousands of visitors from the restaurant business, the four-day show was fantastic. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board had a nice booth with reps from individual producers sampling some very good artisan cheeses. No beer in that particular hall, though. At the show’s International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event, there were a handful of excellent craft beer exhibitors (New Belgium, Ommegang, Goose Island, Two Bros., Stone, and Lagunitas among them), and a couple Chicago restaurants were sampling some delicious foods, but guess what? There wasn’t much of a connection made between them, especially when it came to cheese. One well-known wine restaurant was serving a fine artisan cheese plate but had no suggestions as to what beer to pair the cheese with. Opportunity missed there, IMHO.  The Goose Island Sofie with the Laura Chanel Chevre was amazing.

Gertrude Brewer Bruno Vandendriessche

The Wallonia Trade Office was promoting some Belgian Beers including one that has just recently been commercialized (and is in need of a U.S. importer). Gertrude Triple is the produced by Bruno Vandendriessche, a Belgian homebrewer who worked with Dirk Naudts at De Proef Brewery to step up his favorite recipe. It might be a while, but keep your eyes open for Gertrude in the Belgian aisle of your favorite beer store.

No opportunities were missed in Minneapolis recently when Certified Cicerone™ Michael Agnew worked with fromager Ken Liss to conduct a tasting with some of the best beers and cheeses around. You can read all about it at Michael’s Perfect Pint blog. His favorite pair?

“….Brillat Svarin paired with the Schlenkerla Rauchbier, this was a match to make the angels sing. The salty brie was perfect with the bacon flavors in the beer. Think canapés with brie and cured meats. Ken’s “secret ingredient” further enhanced this pairing. A bit of smoked salt sprinkled onto the cheese pushed it into cheese and beer bliss.”

You might remember the Cheese and Cheers post in March about Shaun Hill who has built a brewery on his family farm in Greensboro, Vt. Well, Hill Farmstead Brewery kicks off a weekend-long grand opening celebration tomorrow. On tap, (and on cask while they last) will be: Edward (double dry hopped) 5.2%, Abner (triple dry hopped) 8.2%, and Edward James (double dry hopped) 6.8%.  Hill will also debut an India black ale, sample a Citra IPA, and dip into the young farmhouse ales that have had just a few weeks on oak. How long does is take to drive to Greensboro from Chicago?

Hill Farmhouse Brewery

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  1. Great…

    love your blog, ,Thanks again….

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