For our fourth experiment, we took the cheeses we used with the Brooklyn Local and tried them with Brooklyn lager, Brakspear Oxford Gold and Nostradamus, a dark sweet 9%-er from Brasserie Caracole.
The Wensleydale is an absolutely gorgeous cheese, but hard to match. It brought out an unpleasant iron flavour in both the Brooklyn lager and the Nostradamus – quite bizarre. It was OK with the Brakspear, but flattened the flavour a little.
The camembert was the best match for the light-but-lovely Brakspear. (Incidentally, the Beer Nut reviewed it here. trying it with bleu d’auvergne.) The cheese gave the beer a nice malt boost. It brought out the oranginess of the Brooklyn lager and made the Nostradamus taste even more of raisins.
It would have been poetic if the Oxford blue had gone with the Oxford gold but, unfortunately, it made the beer less interesting. It killed the hops in the Brooklyn and made the Nostradamus sweeter and less complex. This is another fabulous cheese that is annoyingly hard to pair.
We thought that the Stinking Bishop would be a challenge for these beers. Brooklyn lager stood up surprisingly well, the cheese making the flavours more rounded and smoother without killing the hops. It didn’t completely kill the Oxford Gold either. However, the standout match was with the Nostradamus – it brought out cherry and chocolate flavours in the beer that the others did not.
So, conclusions to date: blue cheeses and Wensleydale are proving tough to match. Stinking Bishop (and perhaps other hardcore rind-washed cheeses) go surprisingly well with a lot of beers, but particularly strong Belgian (or Belgian-style) beer.
Any suggestions for what to try next? We’ve got Harvey’s Imperial Stout with blue cheese on the list for starters.