Friday, August 13, 2010

Belgium+Wales=Yummy in Your Tummy

Have you met Xian yet? In addition to his duties as Assistant Manager of our Broadway location over the past few months he has taken our small beer program and turned it around 180 degrees. Interesting craft beers both domestic and international have been popping up on our shelves lately and it's all due to our beer-passionate Xian. After you try this particular pairing you may want to take a special trip up to Lakeview and thank him in person for bringing in such awesome bubbles.

This week we're featuring McChouffe, a beautiful, special Belgian dark ale . It started when two Belgian brother-in-laws started homebrewing in the 70's and eventually turned their hobby into a business by opening up a brewery in the 80's. Their beers quickly attained a cult following, which resulted in their joining up with Duvel for importing and marketing purposes.

This beer has rich notes of caramelized sugar, a little bit of bubble gum, and some dried figs which are common in Belgian darks due to the roasted malt and proprietary yeasts. The McChouffe is uniquely refreshing which makes it a perfect full-flavored beer for the summer. Super smooth going down with a swift hit of hops to sweep away any cloying remnants.

Our cheese this week is exclusive to us in Illinois thanks to the fabulous team at Neals Yard Dairy.

Hafod has only been in production since 2007. This Welsh Cheddar from is made by cheesemakers Sam and Rachel Holden. While the cheese is a new venture, the farm that they work on belonged to Sams' father and is the oldest registered organic farm in Wales. Using a modified recipe for the cheese Linconshire Poacher and with a herd of Ayrshire cows in the fields, this cheese has a bit of a Swiss quality that compliments it's Cheddar aspects.

Hafod is a raw cows milk cheese with a smooth close knit texture and a golden color. The predominant flavors are buttery, rich and nutty with a slight tang at the finish. Together the beer and cheese are magnificent with the the brown sugar notes in the beer balancing the salt, tang and fattiness found in Hafod.

Send all hugs and complimentary emails to Xian and Cesar for such a great pairing.