In case you’ve been living under a rock, the 3rd Annual San Diego Beer Week kicks-off on Friday 11/4, beginning a ten-day county-wide celebration of our favorite barley-based beverage. With Beer Week comes an onslaught of pint nights, pairing events, rare beer dinners, beer book signings, and even brewer trading cards – I didn’t fact check that last one but it wouldn’t surprise me. With so many beer events going on, the real fun is planning events that stand out. For one of our events, we teamed up with KnB Wine Cellars for a beer dinner of a different kind. Beer and grilled cheese sandwiches: the ultimate beer and comfort food combination.
The research phase began with some “field work” at Venissimo Cheese Shop, followed by an afternoon of vigorous tests. In the end, we came up with some incredible pairings and discovered that beer and grilled cheese could quite possibly be the next big thing.
Below is one of our favorite pairings that will be featured at our SDBW event at KnB Wine Cellars on Friday, November 11th from 6pm-10pm. Look for more beer and grilled cheese pairings to come, as we’re feeling a blog series coming on.
Two Tortugas Belgian Quad : Bucherondin & Fig Preserves on Grilled Brioche
Two Tortugas 11.1%ABV - Our most recent GABF award-winning beer with a bronze in the Belgian Abbey Ale category. Belgian candi sugar gives this robust strong ale a higher alcohol content over a medium body. The flavors are a delicate union of sweet toffee, dark fruits, and warming spices.
Bucherondin – “Boo-share-oh-DAN” An assertive and tangy French goat cheese that sharpens with age.
The Pairing: The sweet toffee flavors of the Belgian Quad balance the sharp tanginess of the cheese, giving it a creaminess that complements the buttery brioche. The fig jam draws out layers of dark fruit with notes of fresh berries and plums. If there were a perfect grilled cheese for dessert, this might be it.
Still not sure what to do with your #IPADay? Looking for a simple yet enjoyable way to celebrate your favorite India Pale Ales. Here’s a guide to selecting the best cheeses from around to world to match with your favorite IPAs. Since our beers are only available in Southern California, you can use these suggestions as a guide for finding IPAs in your neck of the woods. If you’re planning to spend your #IPADay in So-Cal, come see us for Cask Night with $4 IPA pints & $8 growlers of IPA to-go.
IPA & Cheese Basics:
It’s beer, not rocket science but consider the following when seeking the perfect cheese for your IPA.
- More IBU = More PU – Assertively hopped IPAs can handle the stinkiest blues.
- Dry bitterness balances sweetness and cuts richness.
- Bitterness will over power certain spices but will also intensify scoville units (i.e heat).
Hop Flavors/Terroir: Different growing regions produce hops with very distinct flavors and aromatics. Here are some basic examples:
USA Pacific Northwest: Floral, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, resinous pine
Continental Europe: Grassy, minty, floral, herbal, spicy
England: Woodsy, earthy, herbal
New Zealand/Australia: Floral, berries, tropical, citrus
Tower 10 IPA & Apricot Stilton
Tower 10 IPA – A West Coast-style India Pale Ale brewed with tons of Chinook and Cascade hops for a floral aroma and zesty grapefruit-like bitterness that lingers through the dry finish.
Stats: 7.0% ABV – 9 SRM – 70 IBU
Apricot Stilton: England’s “King of Blues” studded with dried apricots for a pleasant blend of fruit and tang.
The Pairing: Tower 10′s forward hop bitterness stands up to the assertive tang of the Stilton, while the apricot draws out the citrus and fruity hop flavors in the beer.
Worthy Substitutions: Racer 5 IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA.
Big Barrel Double IPA & Mango Stilton
Big Barrel Double IPA - A boldly hopped Double IPA brewed in true West Coast fashion. A blend of Ahtanum and New Zealand grown Nelson hops lend a vibrant tropical aroma and clean citrus hop bitterness that lingers through a dry finish.
Stats:9.0% ABV – 15 SRM – 80 IBU
Mango Stilton: A tangy English blue studded with candied mango and spicy ginger.
The Pairing: New Zealand-grown Nelson Sauvin hops give the beer an intense floral and tropical hop character. When paired together, the hop bitterness stands up to the tanginess, while accentuating the tropical fruit flavors in both the beer and the cheese.
Worthy Substitutions: Epic Armagedon IPA, Kern River Double IPA, Alpine Nelson
Boardwalk Black Rye & Memoire + Midnight Moon
Boardwalk Black Rye - Inspired purely by imagination, this full-bodied black ale combines rich and spicy rye malts with the vibrant hop profile of a West Coast Double IPA.
Stats: 8.0% ABV – 80 SRM – 80 IBU
Memoire: A smooth a creamy Dutch Gouda, sprinkled with truffles for added spice.
Midnight Moon: A 1 year-aged goat’s milk cheese from California with sweet toffee flavors and a nutty finish.
The Pairings: Memoire’s spicy black truffle flavors draw out Boardwalk’s spicy rye malt character, while the sweet Midnight Moon softens the hop bitterness and accentuates the beer’s toffee undertones.
Worthy Substitutions: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, Deschutes Hop in the Dark, Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
Whether you’re hosting a holiday get together or bringing something to your office party, a thoughtfully paired beer and cheese spread is always a good call. Sure, you can bust out your Mom’s favorite Chardonnay with some store-bought brie but this isn’t 1987 and you’re more original than that. When most of us think of paring cheese, wine is the first thing that comes to mind – and while wine and cheese have their moments, any Sommelier will be hard-pressed to compete with beer’s range of flavors. When was the last time you found a Zinfandel that tempered the heat of a chipotle infused cheddar or a Riesling that complemented a coffee & lavender-rubbed cheese? The answer is probably never and that’s why beer is a much better partner to cheese. Here you’ll find a few simple yet sophisticated cheese parings to accompany the beers in our Holiday 4-pack, along with a DIY tasting sheet to guide your friends.
Beer & Cheese Pairing Basics:
There are many different approaches to planning a great pairing but the general principles are rather simple. Start with your beer, evaluate its flavors and decide what you want to accomplish with your pairing. Use these tips as a guide:
Complement: Find a cheese that mirrors the flavors of your beer. An example would be taking a sweeter English Barleywine and finding a cheese like Noord Hollander (aged Gouda) that matches the caramel and toffee notes in the beer.
Contrast: Find a beer and cheese combination that enhances both by combining different flavors. An example would be tempering the heat of a spicy cheese like Chipotle Cranberry Cheddar with the hop profile of an IPA or balancing the tanginess of Bucherondin with the sweetness of a malty Red Ale.
Beer & Cheese Pairings with Our Holiday 4-Pack
Our Holiday 4-Pack is available exclusively in our Brewery Restaurants and includes a 22oz bomber of Red Trolley Ale, Tower 10 IPA, Parrot in a Palm Tree & Big Barrel Double IPA. Below are some beer and cheese pairings featuring all four beers included.
Red Trolley Ale & Bucherondin
Red Trolley is a medium-bodied red ale with a sweet caramel malt profile, underpinned by notes of dried fruit.
Bucherondin is a semi-aged goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley of France with a creamy texture and tangy flavor.
The Pairing: Red Trolley’s sweet caramel malt flavors provide a nice contrast to the tangy Bucherondin. Try this pairing with fig jam to add a complement to the dried fruit flavors in the beer.
Tower 10 IPA & Chipotle Cranberry Cheddar
Tower 10 IPA is an American-style India Pale Ale with assertive citrus and floral hop flavors from Cascade and Chinook hops.
Chipotle Cranberry Cheddar is studded with dried cranberries and infused with spicy chipotle for a nice blend of sweet and spicy flavors.
The Pairing: Tower 1o’s hop bitterness gently tempers the spicy chipotle, while the citrus and floral flavors in the beer are complemented by the cranberry.
Parrot in a Palm Tree & Barely Buzzed
Parrot in a Palm Tree is a robust Baltic Porter with layers of chocolate, coffee and dried fruit flavors.
Barely Buzzed is an American white cheddar, dusted in coffee and lavender. This full-bodied cheese is aged on Blue Spruce racks, developing notes of caramel and butterscotch with hints of cocoa and coffee.
The Pairing: Parrot’s milk-chocolate and espresso flavors draw out the coffee and nutty flavors in the cheese.
Big Barrel IIPA & Stilton Blue
Big Barrel is an aggressively hopped Double IPA with a vibrant floral aroma and tropical fruit character.
Stilton, “The King of Blues”, is a soft, tangy, and complex English blue with an assertively ripe flavor.
The Pairing: Both Big Barrel and Stilton possess bold flavors on their own but when paired together their flavors are mellowed. Big Barrel’s hop bitterness is balanced by Stilton’s bold flavors, allowing a rich floral and tropical fruit character to emerge in both the beer and the cheese.
Parrot in a Palm Tree 8.5 % ABV – A robust Baltic Porter brewed especially for the Holidays. Aged two months in San Pasqual Tawny port barrels, the resulting brew boasts a complex bouquet of dark fruits, espresso and chocolate, with hints of oak in its warming finish.
Extra Special Bitter 5.6% ABV – A traditional English-style ale brewed with imported Ashburne and Maris Otter malts for rich caramel and toasted malt flavors. Dry-hopping with Willamette hops adds an earthy hop character that lingers through the finish.
Fullsuit Belgian Brown Ale 6.3% ABV – A Belgian-style brown ale brewed with a blend of caramel and brown malts for toasted and sweet coffee-like flavors, underpinned by the peppery spice of Belgian yeast. Aging on French oak adds a hint of vanilla to its slightly dry and warming finish.
Featured Pairing: Parrot in a Palm Tree with Holiday Shake N’ Cake
Holiday Shake N’ Cake: Baltic Porter vanilla bean ice cream shake topped with spiced whipped cream. Chocolate cupcake, caramel pecans, and raspberry coulis.
The Pairing: Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, this is the perfect pairing to end the year on a high note. Our Baltic Porter ice cream shake is a decadent blend of vanilla and chocolate malt flavors. It’s served with a caramel and raspberry drizzled chocolate cake that draws out layers of dark fruit and espresso in the beer. Santa’s coming to town for this one.
12/23 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – San Diego State University vs. Navy – We’re the exclusive beer of this years VIP Tailgate. Join us before kick-off between 2:30 and 4:30pm for pints of Karl Strauss Amber Lager, Red Trolley Ale & Tower 10 IPA.