I was honored and excited to host my first beer and cheese pairing party this past week. A very affluent husband and wife approached Daniel Eddy, the wine consultant for ABC on Newberry road in Gainesville. They explained that their sons-in-law were flying in from Denver and Atlanta with their wives for Thanksgiving and were very craft beer savvy. They wanted to host a surprise craft beer and cheese pairing party as an early Christmas present. Dan immediately referred them to me as the perfect candidate for delivering a great and memorable event.
They came to me and requested I pick out six six-packs of different beers and the cheeses that corresponded with them. Knowing that the two men were coming from big craft beer cities, I knew I had to pick some fun and special beers. I scoured my shelves for unique styles and found the ideal ones. The first was Anderson Valley’s The Kimmie, The Yink, and The Holy Gose with Beemster soft goat cheese. The mildly sweet taste of the cheese complements the salinity of the Gose. Next was Founder’s Dirty Bastard Scotch ale with Boar’s Head cream havarti. The buttery, slight sweet body of the cheese goes well with the rich maltiness of the ale. Third was Two Brothers Heavy Handed Wet Hopped IPA highlighting Cascade hops with Old Croc sharp cheddar. The tangy, robust taste of the cheddar marries with the floral, bitter hops of the IPA. Fourth was Two Brothers Atom Smasher oak aged Oktoberfest with Boars Head gruyere. The forward light fruitiness and nutty finish of the cheese pairs with the caramel maltiness and vanilla notes from the aging of the lager. Fifth was Bell’s Special double cream stout with Laura Chenel chevre. The earthy tartness of the chevre plays well with the sweet roastiness of the milk stout. Last was Harviestoun Old Engine Oil porter with Cashel blue cheese. The bold, salty flavors of the blue cheese go great with the dark malts and coffee notes of this beer.
I arrived at the two-story house in Gainesville’s Golf and Country Club and was told to come to the side garage to keep the surprise alive. The couple, along with their two daughters and husbands, their third daughter and a family friend, happily greeted me. We exchanged greetings and they tried to guess why I was there. Finally, the surprise was revealed and everyone got really excited. Everything was done perfectly. Each person had his or her own paddle with six four-ounce flight glasses for each beer. The cheese was elegantly displayed on wooden cheese boards with each cheese named so the guests could distinguish them. I sat at the head of the table and gave a brief speech on each beer, what the style was, some tastes to expect and the proper cheese to pair with it. There were beer bratwursts and smoked sausages along with spicy pickle chips and an assortment of olives. Everybody had a great time and the guys talked about their favorite beers and breweries from the cities they were from. It ended quickly and they all thanked me for my services. I hope I get this opportunity again!
Adam Shugan, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits beer consultant – Gainesville
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