Our many thanks to Robin of Flying Fish for donating her time (and her beer) to last night’s Happy Hour. The pairings were tasty as usual, so let’s not delay:
Exit 4 with Challerhocker: We started off with a bang, welcoming customers with Flying Fish’s 9.5% American Trippel. Bananas and cloves, as expected, are apparent in the aroma, and the flavor is a charming balance of sweet malts and subtle bitterness. We went off the beaten path with this pairing, trending away from Trappist cheeses and towards a bold Gruyere. Challerhocker, meaning “Cellar Aged”, is perhaps the best in an extensive new line of Bavarian Cheeses. It has a unique duality of being earthy, complex and basement-esque and yet bright and clean-tasting as well. The beer and the cheese, both big in flavor, toned each other down without overwhelming the other. Our customers voted this the best pairing of the night.
HopFish IPA with Keen’s Farmhouse Cheddar: Unable to avoid the perpetual beauty that is IPA and British Cheddar, we progressed to this week’s rendition. The HopFish is a complex ale, hopped five separate times with three different hops, and balanced with three varieties of malt, one each from America, England and Germany. Floral and citric with assertive yet not overwhelming bitterness, it worked perfectly with the Keen’s. Like most handmade, cloth-bound cheddar, there were striations of blue veining that added to Keen’s muskiness and earthy character. This served as a sturdy foundation on which the beer’s floral and grapefruit tones could gallivant.
Belgian Abbey Dubbel with Blue d’Auvergne: Regarded highly both domestically and abroad, this is one of Flying Fish’s (many) pride and joys. A fruity nose, sturdy body and malty, almondy flavors are just a few descriptors of this remarkable beer that, quite frankly, exhausts all superlatives. We decided to play off of its sweeter side, pairing it with a rich-yet-mild blue. Blue d’Auvergne, made with raw milk, has a mosaic of flavors from mushrooms to chocolate. In line with the chocolate finish, it has a fudge-like texture that craves to be swept away from the palate by the beer’s carbonation. This sweet flavors and cleansing sensation made it the perfect dessert pairing.