New Belgium brewer Eric Salazar was at Marion Street Cheese Market this week for a beer dinner that was among the best I have ever enjoyed. The courses included a cherry-walnut salad paired for resonance with Transatlantic Kriek, a cheese course of Brigid’s Abbey and Belgian Blonde, and a rabbit and gnocchi dish with NB Trippel.

Clearly a nice pairing.

Marion Street Chef Leonard Hollander, and Cheese Specialist Lydia Burns worked with Salazar to develop the pairings. The one-cheese/one-beer cheese course concept is interesting. This one was truly outstanding. Brigid’s Abbey, from Cato Corner in Connecticuit, is a Trappist style cheese that’s slightly odiferous with full creamy and salty flavors and an incredible almost spongy texture. The Blonde, from NB’s Lips of Faith series, poured so clear and golden you could read a newspaper through it. It had a lovely hop-malt-yeast balance and a nice light texture and clean flavor for its 8% ABV.  The two played very nicely together, as did all the pairings.  The dinner finished with a caramelized fresh-peach cobbler with La Folie, a sweet-sour contrast.

Salazar gave attendees a neatly distilled version of the New Belgium Brewery story which, no matter how many times you’ve heard it, never gets old.  Cheese and Cheers must apologize for inadvertantly overlapping with Eric’s second course description in relaying stories of our own experiences with this remarkable brewery.  Stay tuned for news of future dinners at MSCM.  If you haven’t yet been to one, what are you wating for?

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