Pairing No. 9: What’s New?

David | Blog | July, 28 2010 | 4 Comments

Jasper Hill Farm has a new cheese in distribution. Moses Sleeper is a luscious bloomy rind named after another historical figure. Moses Sleeper was killed in 1871 along with Constant Bliss while guarding the trail that led to the area of Vermont near what is now the Jasper Hill farm and creamery. Constant Bliss is also the name of one of Jasper’s most renowned cheeses. 

Moses Sleeper, released earlier this year,  is a bloomy rind cheese made from pasteurized cows milk. Like all Jasper Hill Farm cheeses, that milk is produced by a small herd of Ayrshire cows which graze seasonally on the farm’s pastures. Those pastures have been developed by herdsman Andy Kehler, and the excellent milk stays on the farm where it is converted to cheese by a team led by Andy’s brother Mateo. Moses Sleeper is compared to French styles like Reblochon and Camembert. The cheese matures for about 40 to 60 days and it develops a thin pliable white rind with some pink patches. The paste develops eyes or holes. The flavor should be mild, with notes of fresh milk when it is released, gaining complexity as it ages further.

This cheese was a natural for a tasting I am planning on new beers, new cheeses and new artisans. (Freshly Fermented, July 29 at Small Bar Fullerton in Chicago. More details below). I chose a beer from the very young California company, The Bruery, for an at-home preview pairing to post on the blog.

Trade Winds is a summer seasonal from The Bruery, based on a Belgian Tripel, a strong beer that none-the-less can be nice beer to enjoy in the summer. Trade Winds is also made with rice and Asian spices, although to me it remains pretty true to the classic Belgian style. Lately I’m finding that a well done beer of this style lends its self nicely to a variety of full bodied cheeses. The Bruery, also a family run business, is less than three years old. Not to confuse things, but at Freshly Fermented we will pair Moses Sleeper with a similar style beer made in collaboration by a Belgian and American brewer. So, on to today’s pairing:

 First the Cheese: I bought about a ¼ wheel of Moses from a flat disc shaped, 1-lb. wheel at Marion Street Cheese Market. It was at a perfect degree of ripeness, with the rind maintaining its countenance and the paste oozing ever so slightly.  I opened it at home the next day and the appearance was still fine. The paste was ivory and shiny, with the impression of small to medium eye holes in the ooze. From the rind and the paste there was an earthy aroma, mushroom; asparagus. There was a fresh asparagus note on the attack, and fresh cream on the finish. The mouthfeel was soft and silky, like melting chocolate punctuated by chewy bits of rind. Some bitterness on the rind, but nothing off-putting. The overall impression I kept getting was of a nicely-made cream of asparagus soup. Most reviews note the clean freshness of this cheese, but keep in mind that mine was a bit further into the ripeness curve. I loved the complex vegetal flavors, but I would also love to compare it to a younger Moses. 

The Beer:  Trade Winds pours a deep golden-amber with a white, fluffy head that falls quickly to a compact ¼-inch cap. It’s bright and clear with columns of tiny bubbles ascending. The aroma is sweet like cotton candy. The flavor attack is bitter, sweet and alcoholic. Very much what one would expect of a Belgian style Tripel. The mouthfeel is perfect, with a fairly light body, and an ebullient carbonation. There was a hint of the Thai basil, but it was nicely layered with the other rich flavors.

 Beer Plus Cheese: These two play off each other well, but they keep a bit of a distance. They are well matched in terms of intensity — the ripeness of my piece of Moses may have helped here. Two very nice, bold flavor packages. In your mouth together the asparagus soup theme continues, with an overlay of exploding bitterness and alcohol esters. This is a nice, if not completely harmonious pairing. The sweet, high octane flavor of the beer and the rich vegetable and cream flavors in the cheese don’t quite wrap around each other enough to be a perfect pair, but instead seem to stand together nicely.

I’d give this a 4 out of 5.

 BTW, there are still  a few seats left for Freshly Fermented, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Small Bar Fullerton. Call 773.772.2727 for reservations.  Here’s the full lineup:

 Reichert’s Chevre, fresh goats milk cheese, Lois Reichert Dairy, Iowa.  Paired with Orchard White Ale, Belgian style wit, The Bruery, Calif.

 Moses Sleeper, cows milk, bloomy rind (think Camembert) Jasper Hill Farm, Vt. Paired with Biere de l’Amitie, Collaboration Strong Golden Ale. St. Feuillien, Belgium and Green Flash, Calif.

 Bandaged Cheddar, cows milk, Bleu Mont Dairy, Wis. Paired with 14th Anniversary, English IPA w/ Burtonized water, Stone Brewing, Calif.

 Cremont, aged mixed-milk (sheep, goat and cow), Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery.  Paired with I-Beam Alt, Metropolitan Brewing Co., Chicago

 Little Boy Blue, sheeps milk blue, Hook’s Cheese Co., Wis. Paired with Lake Erie Monster, Imperial IPA, Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland

 .

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  1. David,

    LOVE that tulip glass! I’ve actually never seen one shaped just like that, and it looks beautiful.

    I have indeed heard of this beer, but have yet to personally try it…actually I can’t even seem to find it yet around here in Dallas.

    I’m typically not a fan of very strong flavored herbs such as basil making their way into beer, but your review of this beer is making me really want to find it now. If it’s layered very well just the way you say it is (and I know we all have different tastes), then I can easily see how it work in almost perfect unity with the a Belgium Trippel.

    The cheese of course, looks fantastic too! :)

    Ilya

  2. David

    Ilya, that glass is from a special line made by Cardinal Glass Co. I have family member who sells for the company and I visited the Cardinal booth at a trade show recntly and they sent me a couple samples. Hoping to do a beer-glass dinner with them sometime. I love that post-mod spaceship look, and yes, they pour, and drink nicely. Not sure if The Bruery products are in Dallas or not. Ask your retailer for them. You might be able to get the New Belgium Tripel in Texas, and that’s a very nice beer. –Dave

  3. @David

    Thanks so much for the reply back! Sorry it took me more than a month to get back to your blog!

    I’ve been able to find that glass online, but still no way to order it just yet. I can get the New Belgium Tripel here and have had it. It’s good, but I’m not a huge fan or much from that brewery. Don’t get me wrong they’re good…just not “wow” for me.

    Have you done a beer-glass dinner with them yet?

    Ilya

  4. Great…

    love your blog, http://adrien.i.ph/blogs/adrien/ ,Thanks again….

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