Friday, September 3, 2010

Family Farmed Cheese and Beer

We've got two great products this week with Belgian traditions and American twists. Read on!

The Cheese, Bridgid's Abbey is from the mother and son duo at Cato Corner farm in Colchester, Connecticut. This Trappist-style monastery cheese has a smooth consistency and an irresistibly rich, and mild taste. The flavor is slightly milky, with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness.

Originally this cheese was inspired by a Belgian recipe brought to cheesemaker Mark by a Belgian cheesemaker named Freddie Michels. This is a rinsed curd cheese which is made by replacing a portion of the whey with water. This reduces the lactose and slightly warms the curd during the cheesemaking process.

Made from raw milk this washed-rind cheese changes throughout the year. Summer batches are firmer with a slightly higher acidity. The winter batches are creamier and often a bit stronger in paste and aroma. The deep yellow color of the paste is a result of the beta carotene that comes from the Jersey cows' pasture diet.

For the beer we go to Belgium. Brewed for Vanberg & Dewulf by Schelde Brouwerij the Hop Ruiter takes the lively, yeasty tradition of Belgian blond ales and pairs it with a touch of American hoppy aggressiveness. There are some orange blossom and biscuit aromas, a creamy mouth feel, and pleasing presence of bitterness from Nelson Sauvin hops in the finish. This beer is raucous, rustic, bold and alive!

Together these are both lovely examples of amazing, special, small batch products. The Hop Ruiter is an assertive beer that tempers some of the salty , lactic nature of the Bridgid's Abbey and brings out a hint of earthy complexity. The fine carbonation tangles with the richness in the cheese creating a delightful mouth feel.


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