Cheese. Beer. Repeat.
This Saturday, I was one of about 50 lucky people who attended a beer and cheese class taught by Amy Cartwright, co-owner of Independence Brewing Co., and John and Kendall Antonelli, owners of the soon-to-be-open Antonelli’s Cheese shop in Hyde Park.
Full disclosure, I helped plan the event along with Amy and John but since I paid for my own ticket and all, I’m allowed to blog about it, right?!
Below is a photo that Adam took of the setup — five large picnic tables seated ten people at each. It was cozy but I don’t think anyone minded since the brewing room is open to the fresh air and it was a brisk 50 degrees. Those of us without jackets were feeling the chill.
Amy, John, and Kendall co-led the class and walked us through four pairings of beer and cheese. To read a great play-by-play account of the tasting, check out Food Dilettante’s post.
My co-hosts got together not once but twice to pair the Independence beers with the right cheeses. If only I didn’t have a day job, I could have joined them but all of the tastings were during the workday.
My friend Summer Huggins took wonderful photos and put them together for the pairing pics below. To see more of her work, check out her Flickr account.
The first pairing featured above was designed to bring out the honey and sweetness in the beer. Buff by CheesyGirl is a locally-made cheese from Sealy, TX.
New friends and old gathered to enjoy the tastes. We spread the word about the event through the Tasty Touring Facebook group, Twitter, the Antonelli’s listserv, and through old fashioned word of mouth.
My favorite pairing of the day was the Amber and the Pont L’eveque. This Normandy (France) cheese comes from a damp and cool climate perfect for aging washed rind cheeses. I loved the stinky smell and rich taste and kept sampling this cheese over and over again.
John told us that to experience the absolute best flavors from the tasting, we should exhale slowly through the nose while eating cheese and drinking beer to actually help us smell better. Some commonly used words to describe the flavor of cheese include: fresh, milky, fruity, mushroomy, earthy, floral, toasted, spicy, nutty, and stinky.
The Brown beer and the Walserstolz (Swiss-style cheese from Austria) made me feel like I was at Oktoberfest. The cheese is aged 8 to 16 months and develops a hearty, tart, and spicy taste. The beer is malty, and tastes of chocolate and coffee. Together, the flavor became nutty and the beer had a toasty taste.
We contacted Lauren Hubele of Bona Dea Bread to provide the main delivery mechanism (other than our fingers) to deposit the cheese into our mouths. She made fresh Sourdough Semolina Rosemary, Fennel Anise Sourdough Rye, and Challah with Sesame and cut them up into small, tasting-sized pieces.
The final pairing was the pale ale with locally produced Hopelessly Blue from Pure Luck Dairy. Pure Luck is an amazing operation and we were able to see firsthand how well they take care of their goats when we visited for the farm tour last month.
How beautiful is Summer’s photo above? It makes my mouth water. John and Kendall picked up some fun nibbles to enjoy during the class. They included this Austin Slow Burn Spiced Peach Jam, honey, almonds, grapes, banana chips, and pomegranate seeds. At the end, they put out Hershey’s nuggets for everyone to enjoy.
Amy gave us an in-depth tour of the Brewery facilities. I learned two things:
- Learning about science can lead to cool things, like making beer.
- Adding to the list of things I will never be (including president and astronaut), is master brewer.
At the end of the class, the happy hosts and planners posed for a picture in front of the Independence Brewing Co. mural. Rob Cartwright joined us right at the end of class, after delivering kegs and pallets of beer to stores and bars around town.
By the way, if you want to order a keg of Independence beer for your next house party, the only place in town that sells it by the keg is Party Barn on the drag.
See you at the next Tasty Touring event!Tags: Antonelli's, beer, Bona Dea, bread, cheese, Independence Brewery, Pure Luck, Summer H.