Archive for beer

Three Washington Creameries


To kick off the 2010 American Cheese Society conference, there were three tours originating from points a few hours away from Seattle and visiting various creameries and retail stores along the way. After the Portland Wedge Cheese Festival last year, I got roped into volunteered to help lead the Portland to Seattle tour which left the morning before the festival, arriving in time for the opening keynote address that evening.

Our itinerary had us starting early in the morning in downtown Portland, visiting the Hollywood Whole Foods for snacks and then heading up to three Washington state creameries on the way to Seattle. We picked up cheese along the way and on the last leg, had a cheese tasting with wine and beer on the bus! My partner in crime, Bill Stephenson from DPI Northwest, was very adept at cutting the cheese at the front of the bus as I wandered the aisles with wine and some of the finest Oregon craft beer (graciously donated by the Oregon Brewer’s Guild).

We all had a lot of fun and only lost a little cheese when the bus braked hard and Bill’s cutting board went flying. For my part, I only spilled a little wine and beer on one poor guy who was very good-natured (and luckily wearing navy blue pants!). Here’s just a little wrap-up about the creameries we visited.

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Steve’s Cheese Bar Review

Beer + Cheese

I’ve started up a new blog (Beer + Cheese) with my beer-loving husband and we’ll be posting about cheese and beer pairings plus other great food pairings over there. Last night we went to Steve Jones’ new Cheese Bar and wrote up a little review.

Check it out!

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Onward and Upward for Steve’s Cheese!

Well, the word is out! Steve Jones, the proprietor of Steve’s Cheese here in Portland, is starting a new venture this year. He’ll be moving his cheeses out to Southeast Portland and opening a larger shop where you can buy and sample cheeses, enjoy a small plate, have lunch or dinner and stay into the later hours pairing beer and wine with your favorites. Be still my heart!!

“It was time, we needed room to do more,” says Jones, whose clients include many top Portland restaurants as well as adventurous cheese shoppers. Jones says the spirit of the Cheese Bar is inspired by France’s tabac shops. “Every corner has one,” he says. “All the old men drinking espresso or grappa or having croissant. A tabac is for the neighborhood — they’re social yet convenient locations.”

~ Karen Brooks, The Oregonian

He’s hoping to open up in March and you can be sure I’ll be the first one in line.

The Cheese Bar • 6031 SE Belmont • Whoop! Whoop!

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2009, the Year of Festivals

What a year. What a jerk of a year. I think every year finds people sorting it into a winning year or a losing year. I have a lot to be grateful and thankful for here at the start of 2010 (Twenty-ten! The future!) but there were parts of 2009 which were terribly trying. The bright spots, for me, revolved around cheese and for that I can’t complain.

Cheese Plate

Boerenkaas from Willamette Valley Cheese Co, a 2009 favorite

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Beer Blog or Cheese Blog?

Willamette, Cascade & Magnum Hops

I just had to post a couple pics from our hop harvest today. I’m so proud of my husband — these hops are his babies that he started last spring. We had a small yield last year but this year’s crop is pretty damn good! We have Willamette, Cascade & Magnum hops. Cascade were the highest yield but overall we got over a pound of hop cones. You know how I feel about cheese and beer together so I’m just tickled to make some homebrew from our very own hoppy hops! I wonder what cheese I can pair with this?

Thom Harvests Cascade

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Fred Eckhardt & Rogue – 10 cheeses, 10 beers

Samplers Killed

Okay, not to beat a drum but we went to another cheese and beer tasting event last night and it was EPIC. Going in knowing that the menu would include 10 pairings, I was a bit intimidated. Luckily, both the beers and cheeses were more on the mellow side, lighter beers without super complex flavors and cheeses that were all unique but none that really knocked your palette out. We also sampled Rogue’s new whiskey which was pretty darn good as whiskey goes. I could definitely see taking it on a camping trip which is my metric for tasty whiskey.

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Cheese Plus Beer

So, the Mister and I are big beer fans around here. He has been homebrewing for a couple years and I swear that he has never made a bad beer. There has been one or two strange beers but nothing undrinkable. In fact, most of them have been highly drinkable! When I started getting interested in making cheese I felt like there was some kind of crossover potential there. They both relate to the science of applied heat. They both relate to farm life — beer is made from grains, cows eat grains and grasses. But, obviously, these are tenuous connections. The light came on, though, when I started reading about pairing cheese with beer.

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Beer & Cheese Tasting at Saraveza

Our friends Dave (BS Brewing) and Sarah (of FU Cheese) won tickets to a beer and cheese tasting at Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern. After promising them our first born, they invited us to go with them. It was so worth it!

Saraveza is a bottle shop and tavern owned by Sarah Pederson. They had their grand opening last fall, 2008. It’s in a very cute little building off North Killingsworth and they keep their for-sale beers in these great vintage coolers. They’re the kind of coolers that you might open a restaurant around since they are so adorable. The bar has a nice, casual vibe and we tried a couple of their pasties (all good) and a sausage plate (yum!). One of our favorite bartenders from the Green Dragon works here, too, so that was a nice surprise.

Steve’s Cheese is located in the Square Deal Wine Shop on 23rd and Thurman and is run by Steve Jones. He’s a young, very bearded guy who has a clear passion for cheese and cheesemakers. He was able to answer our many, many questions with enthusiasm and point us toward some great Northwest creameries.
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Cheese & Beer Pairing

Inspired by the New York Times article I wrote about previously, I started looking for some recommendations for cheese and beer pairings. We like beer near as much as we like cheese so it seemed only natural to put these two together. I came across a recommendation to pair summer beers like a wheat or hefeweizen with fresh young cheeses like chevre or fromage blanc. Since we had just made a batch of chevre that morning, I thought this would be perfect. Thom, my incredibly smart and handsome husband, who also happens to be a homebrewer and writer over at the BSBrewing Blog, came along to help me choose the beers.

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NYTimes article on beer and food pairing

This article from a couple years ago talks about how effective it can be to pair beer with food. The writer interviews Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver who talks about pairing beer with some foods which may be difficult to pair with wine. He raises the interesting point that beer can really break up the food and act as a palate cleanser in a way that some wines cannot.

Here at FUCheese we are beer lovers as well so learning how beer might complement our favorite cheeses would be exceptional. For our third cheesemaking project we are planning to focus on goat milk and I’m going to try to put together a beer and cheese pairing. I will report the results!

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