At the beginning of each post I will briefly describe the highlighted cheese. Below the cheese description you will find the beer pairing suggestions. Most of the cheeses will have at least two detailed beer pairing suggestions and some will have three! The beer suggestions will include detailed descriptions of each pairing as well as detailed descriptions of the beer.
This semi-hard goat cheese from Bend, Oregon is made with beer! There is a hint of of malt flavor from the beer in the cheese but it is quickly replaced by the tangy goat cheese. Fortunately for all of us, a very subtle hop flavor -not bitterness- lingers in the aftertaste -think grapefruit. No citrus was harmed in making this cheese or beer and in fact the citrusy grapefruit notes are signature flavor profiles derived from hops produced in the Northwest US.
I wanted to find out a little more about this cheese from Bend, OR so I went straight to the source - Tumalo Farms. They were happy to give me a little backstory to this delicious cheese ...
"I can also expand on the name Pondhopper (a single word). Pondhopper came from a list of names I created and it was based on skipping stones with my children at the Deschutes River here in Bend. Some of the names that came up original were (Pond Skipper, Pond Hops, Pond Hopper, River Hopper, among many others). Eventually the Pond Hopper came up to the surface and I merged the words to give it a single word and sound "Pondhopper". Pond Skipper was right behind it, but I had decided that the word "hop" needed to appear somewhere in the name.
Anyway, just a little history, but the best part is simply to taste the cheese at room temperature and enjoy it with your favorite Pale Ale style of beer. If you need additional specification information about the cheese, please see our website [http://www.tumalofarms.com/collateral/Pondhopper%20Spec%20Sheet.pdf]. " Flavio DeCastilhos
Pilsner Urquell is a great pairing with this cheese because it adds a new layer of complexity to the hop profile found in the cheese. Pilsner Urquell is brewed with Nobel hops -hops from continental Europe- that have a spicy flavor to them. Not only do the Nobel hops in this beer enlarge the residual hop flavor in the cheese they also create a wonderfully complex hop flavor that wasn't there before.
When you buy a pilsner be sure to buy a brand that is either in cans or in a closed box. Green bottles do little to block harmful light rays that cause a chemical reaction in the hops that produces a "skunky" aroma in the beer. Skunking can happen in a matter of minutes so make the extra effort to ask for a six-pack that hasn't been sitting under the fluorescent lights or in any amount of sunlight. If you don't, you will likely end up with skunked beer.
Examples: Gambrinus Pilsner
Serving Temp: 35°- 40°
Glassware:Flute, Pilsner, Seidel, Stange or Stein
Aroma:Complex spicy hop aromas, very little malt flavor, no fruity esters or diacetyl.
Appearance:Light to deep gold, crystal clear with a white head.
Flavor:Crisp with a pronounced bitterness and a complex malt profile that softens the hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel:Medium-light body accentuated by softer water, decoction mash, and lower carbonation level
Food Pairings: Cuisine: Spicy Indian or Thai curries. Cheeses: sharp (blue, cheddar).
HopHeadSaid: My favorite of the pilsner subcategories. These beers are well balanced and complex if you take the time to dissect them OR they can be the perfect lawnmower beer; flavorful and thirst quenching.
Bohemian Pilsners are for people who would like a more pronounced pilsner malt taste yet crave the crisp balance of the noble hops. The hop flavor and bitterness is present only to balance the perceived maltiness that is accentuated by the medium body and carbonation. The medium to medium-full body and lower carbonation levels allow the sweet malt to coat your mouth before they are cleaned away by the lazy carbonation and spicy noble hops. This beer should still pour crystal clear and have a long lasting white head.
The Redhook Longhammer IPA pairs well with Pondhopper because its piney/citrus hop aromas and flavors resonate with the hop flavors found in the cheese. The hop flavors accentuate each other helping them become more noticeable and also more delicious. If you are new to IPA's or IPA's scare you, this is a good pairing as the cheese helps to reduce the IPA's iconic bitterness. Also, Redhook Longhammer IPA is a milder American style IPA but if you are a true HopHead or really adventurous then you may want to try a more hop forward IPA like Racer 5 or Hop Devil.
Examples: Two Hearted Ale, 60 Minute IPA, Hop Devil Ale, Raser 5, Titan, Blind Pig
Serving Temp: 40°- 45°
Glassware: Pint Glass, Mug
Aroma: Think citrus (grapefruit), resinous pine, or even tropical fruit. There may be a slight sweetness present from the malt but the hop aromas will most likely cover up those aromas.
Appearance: Colors will vary from medium gold to a reddish copper but they will all be clear unless they have been dry hopped and then there may be a slight haze. Because the malt used has very little dark color the head will be white to off white and should persist.
Flavor: IPA’s are all about the hops (bitterness, flavor and aroma) and so there will be medium to high amount of hop flavor and bitterness that will reflect the American hop citrus qualities (citrusy, floral, resinous, pine). Malt flavor will be low to showcase all the hop characteristics.
Mouthfeel: You can expect a medium body with a pleasing mouth puckering bitterness (think grapefruit) that helps to dry the beer out and creates a thirst quenching, refreshing beer.
Food Pairings: Cheese: Pepper Jack. Meat: Fish, smoked salmon. Cuisine: American, Mexican.
HopHeadSaid: I love IPA’s! They are refreshing when it is hot out and their warming alcohol keeps you warm when it is cold. These beers pair well with many foods especially savory or sweet foods. The bitterness and alcohol help cleanse the palate of savory foods like cheeses or fried foods and the bitterness also helps keep the sweet foods in check. But if you want to spice things up a bit drink an IPA with some spicy salsa. The bitterness momentarily emphasizes the spice but the alcohol helps to refresh the palate just like a tortilla chip.
Topics: Food Pairing, Beer Pairing, Cheese Pairing, Beer and Food, Beer and Cheese