My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, October 9th.
It has been a good summer here in Vermont; plenty of sunshine and some very warm days. However as we head into October and the core of our autumn season, our thoughts and actions have slowly moved from summer-time to the fall harvest, bright foliage (complete with the hordes of out of state “leaf peepers”) and the last of the outdoor beer festivals of the year. A couple of weeks ago I attended the 2010 rendition of SIPtemberfest at the Mad River Glen in Waitsfield, Vermont.
Last Sunday afternoon I was one of about 10 lucky people that attended the Three Penny Taproom’s Celebrate the Northern Forest: Craft Beer and Artisan Cheese tasting event. The cheeses we sampled were specially selected for this event by Montpelier’s Jeff Roberts (author of The Atlus of American Artisan Cheese and an instructor at the New England Culinary Institute). Jeff’s cheese selections for this event were chosen as examples of relatively small production, very high quality cheeses produced in rural New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Some of the cheeses selected are not readily available outside of their local marketplaces and three of them (the two from Maine and the one from NY) are not typically available in Vermont at all. TPT’s Scott Kerner specially selected craft beer to compliment the flavors of each of these cheeses. Chef Joey Nagy, TPT’s chef extrordinaire, added other simple food items to each tasting pair designed to enhance the flavor of both the cheeses and the beers; particularly when tasted all together. The beer/cheese parings and my comments are as follows (Disclaimer: The opinions expressed below are solely my personal, very uneducated observations and are not a reflection of TPT, Jeff or the cheese manufacturers):
BreBis (from Appleton Creamery in Appleton, Me) – A soft ripened Brie-style cheese made from East Freisian and Dorset sheep’s milk. Served with Allagash White beer and dry roasted hazelnuts. The cheese was very mild and although the beer was also mild it seemed, to me, to overpower the very delicate flavor of the cheese.
Landaff (from Landaff Creamery in Landaff, NH) – A slightly aged (2-4 months), natural rind, semi-soft cheese made from raw Jersey cow’s milk. Served with Smuttynose Old Brown Dog and dry roasted hazel nuts. This was one of my favorite pairings of the afternoon. I had no idea how well hazelnuts and a good brown ale tasted together. The cheese was good, but sort of got lost in my event-induced “epiphany” surrounding the brown ale and the hazelnuts.
Sweet Emotions (from Lazy Lady Farm in Westfield, VT) – A certified organic, cave-aged (3 weeks), soft-ripened, double to triple cream cheese made from pasteurized goat’s milk and Jersey cow cream. Served with Hill Farmstead Florence Wheat Saison and a dried whole fig. I enjoyed this pairing quite a bit, especially the “all in” combination of a small bite of the fig along with the beer and cheese. The flavors of the three just all seemed to blend together very nicely.
Pecorino Fresco (from Dancing Ewe Farms in Granville, NY) – An aged (60 days), semi-firm, farmstead cheese made from East Friesian sheep milk from the farm. Served with Southern Tier Double (2X) IPA and tomato jam. The hoppy bitterness of the IPA was mellowed by the sharper flavor the aged cheese and the sweetness of the tomato jam enhanced the subtle malty understructure of the IPA.
Tarentaise (from Spring Brook Farm in Reading, VT) – A semi-form, farmstead, aged (5-12 months), washed rind cheese made from raw Jersey cow’s milk from the farm. Served with Hill Farmstead Edward IPA and honeycomb. The intense hoppiness of the IPA was a perfect match to the hardy flavor the cheese. The honeycomb provided flavor contrast the stronger beer and cheese. This is a favored beer and this was a great cheese to serve along side of it.
Blue Velvet (from Hahn’s End in Phillipsburg, ME) – A certified organic, aged (2-4 months), hand-pierced natural rind blue cheese. Served with the the honeycomb along with the . contrasting flavors of two different beers; Allagash Four and Allagash Odyssey. Each beer provided its own experience with the cheese. Several people in the session pointed to the fact that the Four’s hoppiness seemed to be enhanced by the cheese, whereas the subtle flavors of this quite strong cheese were enhanced by the Odyssey.
I have to say that I was very inspired by this tasting session. I was very impressed by the knowledge and understanding of cheese, beer and food that each of the three session leaders brought into the session. As I continue to build my own knowledge of the fun, exciting and exceptionally deep topic of beer/food pairings, I can only hope to aspire to a tiny portion of the skills that these people showed to me on Sunday. But, then again, half of the fun in such an endeavor is in the learning… for it is not every of life’s challenges where you can eat, drink and savor such an adventure along the way!
On Sunday (July 18) I will be attending a beer & cheese pairing event at the Three Penny Taproom here in Montpelier.
From Their Web site: This one is called Celebrate the Northern Forest: Craft Beer and Artisan Cheese and will feature specially selected craft beers courtesy of TPT’s Scott Kerner, paired perfectly with six artisan cheeses hand-picked by Central Vermont’s own Jeff Roberts (author of The Atlus of American Artisan Cheese). In addition, chef Joey Nagy will be providing some incredible accouterments for your enjoyment. The event runs from 1:00 to 3:00 and costs $40/person. Sign-up and pre-pay in person here at Three Penny- but do so soon, these events always fill-up quick!
My last week’s featured article for RateBeer’s The Hop Press… posted on Saturday, May 15th.
This is a story of two successes at once, sort of like a piece of tasty candy with a yummy center. The first of these, the “tasty candy”, has to do with an event which occurred recently in my home town of Montpelier, VT. On May 1st of this year the Three Penny Taproom (TPT), located right on Main Street downtown, celebrated its first year anniversary in truly GRAND style… with Montpelier’s very first beer festival… a Montbeerlier Festival.
In celebration of the Three Penny Taproom’s First Anniversary, on Saturday, May 1, 2010 the Taproom will host the First Annual “Montbeerlier Festival”. Montbeerlier will be held under a tent in the Onion River Sports parking lot on Langdon Street, Montpelier from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Along with house-made sausages on the grill and live music from Primate Fiasco from 6:00-8:30, the main attraction will be approximately 12 different cask conditioned beers (or “firkins”).
Expected casks and other special beer available at this event to include:
Hill Farmstead Abner- A Double IPA (this is the public premier of Shaun Hill’s 2nd awesome beer from the new brewery)
Trapp Family Brewery Bourbon Barrel Bock- Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels (I’ve tasted, heaven in a glass)
Trapp Family Brewery Helles Lager
Lawson’s Finest Liquids Weiss-K- Sean’s Weiss beer poured out of a gravity Firkin
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout- A fresh batch of RIS with added Oak Staves that were soaked in Port wine!
Stone Double Dry-Hopped Ruination
Stone Vanilla Oaked Smoked Porter
Berkshire Brewing Imperial Stout
Smuttynose Brown Dog Dry-Hopped with Sterlings
Stoudt’s American Pale Ale
Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady ESB
In the taproom, we have decided to dig deep in the caverns of our basement for some aged goodies to put on tap, so expect to be blown away!
To go along with these, Joey and Jake will be churning out fresh sausages, plus the good folks from Vermont Butter & Cheese Company will be here to give out free samples of their beautiful cheeses! The tickets will cost $5 a piece or 5 for $20, and will be worth either a beer or a sausage, what a deal, four beers and a homemade sausage sandwich for $20!!! And to top it all off, The Primate Fiasco will be tickling your earbuds starting around 6:30
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The Hop Press… posted on Saturday, January 16th.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be involved in a rather unique beer tasting event held at the Three Penny Taproom in downtown Montpelier, Vermont. Shaun Hill, an acclaimed local brewer, was there to introduce a small group of beer aficionados to six very limited-run, barrel-aged beers from Denmark. Due to their limited production, these beers will probably never be distributed or sold here in the US.
On Sunday, January 10th, the Three Penny Taproom is presenting six beers brewed by Shaun Hill during his time working at Nørrebro Bryghus in Copenhagen, Denmark. All of these beers are part of the Nørrebro Limited Release/Barrel Aged series. This is a very special event, and is limited to 25 people. Here is the list of the beers on the menu: