This Belgian-style ale poured hazy and immediately offered up that unmistakable Brettanomyces funk. The aromas were of wild yeast, golden raisins and wet hay, while the flavor was dominated by apricot and supported by a refreshing malt backbone. We paired this with a slice of Cremont, a goat's milk cheese from Vermont enriched with cow's cream. The thin mold rind shared some of the same aromas with the Brett in the beer, and the carbonation was just enough to lift off the cream and cleanse the palate between bites.
Heart of Gold, a hefty wheat wine ale, glistened a deep copper color and left an impressive trail on the sides of the glass when swirled. The first aromas are of a holiday fruitcake, which gradually give way to strong wheat malt and grenadine. These are remarkably consistent in the flavor, with the malt perhaps shining a bit more brightly after a moment on the tongue. The dairy companion of choice here was Paglierino, a mature Italian sheep's milk cheese from Campania. The peppery and roasted meat flavors of the cheese were a perfect counterpoint to the Heart of Gold's syrup-y goodness, with the fat of the sheep's milk effectively subduing the slight alcohol burn of the strong ale.
An American Brown Ale brewed with maple-roasted squash, this seasonal offering poured a fluffy tan head which sat atop a mahogany and black tea colored body. The featured ingredients in the beer are faithfully represented in both the aromas and flavors, with the vegetable flavors of the squash coming through slightly stronger before giving way to the maple sweetness and familiar biscuit finish. For this, we broke out a wedge of decadent Chiriboga Blue, a dense and creamy blue cheese from Bavaria. The spicy mineral flavors of the cheese served to cut some of the malt sweetness, while its rich and buttery texture enhanced the maple and spice, making for a remarkably balanced pairing.
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