SUDIA Teaches Art of Beer & Cheese Pairing

The Southeastern United Dairy Industries Association and Taco Mac recently hosted an exclusive “Brews and Moos” guided Beer and Cheese Pairing event with industry experts and samples of some of the Southeast's tastiest cow-based cheeses paired with Taco Mac’s finest craft beers.

The exclusive VIP tasting was held in the The Chapter Room . The tasting began with an introduction of Sudia hosts and an explanation of the art of beer cheeses with craft beers. Certain qualities of cheese and beer interact with each other in specific, predictable ways. Taking advantage of these interactions ensures that the flavors will balance each other, with one partner not dominating the other.

First, we sampled an Omaha Nada Banana with large spoonfuls of Fresh Burratta from Maplebrook Farm in Vermont. The light-colored beer, which is similar to traditional German-style Weissbier, boasts banana and warm spicy aromas followed by a wonderful taste of banana, vanilla and spices that finishes with a fruity, smooth aftertaste. The fluffy mouthfeel from wheat protein was a surprising complement to the rich creamy burrata made using old world methods by stretching curd into mozzarella and filling it with soft stracciatella comprised of cream and strands of mozzarella.

The Battery Park Triple Cream Brie (topped with a berry compote) from Charleston Cheese, a handcrafted, bloomy rind cheese from a 250-year-old family farm in South Carolina paired with Creature Comforts “Athena” was an extraordinary match. The outside of this brie is coated with flavor-producing Penicillium candidum mold which as it breaks down spreads a creaminess throughout the interior of the cheese, giving it a lemony, earthy, almost dessert like flavor that accompanies Athena’s refreshing, slightly-tart spin on the classic German Berliner Weisse with its citrus notes.

IPA from Sweetwater Brewing with its intense, unfiltered, hoppy character with the Asher Blue from Sweet Grass Dairy provided a nice contrast of flavors. Asher Blue is one of the few naturally-rinded blue cheeses being made in the U.S. Each wheel is pierced 50 times on each side of the wheel to produce its characteristic blue veins. This complex, rich blue with its earthy piquant finish pairs well with the hop bitterness of this IPA.

Creature Comforts Reclaimed Rye, a complex and flavorful Amber Ale, aged on French oak, is a well-rounded brew with a warm, spicy and faintly sweet finish that is an impeccable complement to Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme topped with Honeycomb from Savannah Bee Company. Thomasville Tomme is an aged, raw, cow's milk cheese handcrafted in the style of a French Pyrenees Tomme. Each wheel is handcrafted and aged for at least 60 days with a natural rind that gives way to a semi-firm golden interior with a rich, and buttery flavor with grassy and tangy finish. When enhanced by the all-natural sweetness of raw honey and paired with “Reclaimed Rye,” the combination creates a dessert course that is bar none.

And, as if this was not enough beer and cheese to salve the soul, VIPs were invited upstairs to Taco Mac to participate in the Brews & Moos public event. As I was already quite satiated, I was planning to pass on the opportunity until I was enticed by the Claire and Ronnie Patton, owners of Wildcat Mountain Cheeses, to sample their creamy, caramelly Gouda paired with Reformation Brewery’s Stark, a robust porter with hints of chocolate from toasted malts; fabulous! I also could not pass up the chance to nibble one of my favorite local cheeses, CalyRoad Creamery’s “Little Epiphany.” The Crottin-style aged cow’s milk cheese paired wonderfully with Red Brick Brewing’s 3 Bagger, a well-balanced, rum barrel-aged, Belgian tripel with its golden hue and complex flavors of fruit,
vanilla and oak flavors.

Thanks to Sudia for hosting this informative and delicious event. SUDIA (Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc.) is a non-profit organization funded by dairy farm families of the Southeast. Working diligently with dairy farmers, retailers, schools, sports teams, health professionals, local organizations, state leaders, the media and the public, they promote knowledge about the dairy industry and dairy foods. Their efforts are centered in the nine Southern states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.