HARGREAVES HILL BEER AND CHEESE TASTING
By Jo Rittey
Cheese and beer is a match made in heaven. At least that’s what Two Tall Chefs and Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company think and they want to share a little bit of that heaven with you. On Sunday 11 September they will be holding a day of artisan cheese and craft beer pairings. Jo Rittey gets the lowdown from chef, Monte Hudson and brewer Ruby Nelson-Will.
What are you looking for when pairing beer and cheese? What notes or flavour profiles go well together?
The biggest thing when pairing beer and cheese is balance; that is, the intensity of the cheese should match the beer. One shouldn’t overwhelm the other – think, the older the cheese, the bolder the beer. Combinations also work best when they share some common flavour or aroma elements.
The nutty and fruity flavour of an aged cheddar, for example, works beautifully with a bold aromatic beer; we suggest Hargreaves Hill’s cult beer, the ESB. Similarly, the funky earthy notes of a washed rind works a treat with the hoppy bitterness of an IPA. Because an IPA is often highly carbonated, it also acts as a great palate cleanser.
On the other hand, pairing a delicate young soft mould cheese (like a brie or camembert) with a rich fulsome imperial stout is unlikely to bring out the best in the cheese. Instead, try a traditional style wheat beer, such has a Hefeweizen.
For the beer and cheese aficionados, we dare you to challenge yourself by considering, not just the primary, but also the secondary notes of the cheese.
What are your favorite cheese combinations?
It’s hard to pick a clear favorite, but, at the end of a long week, it’s hard to refuse a chunk of aged Gouda – like the very distinctive Reypenaer XO Reserve – washed down with a golden ale. The rich, caramel flavour and crystalline texture of this cheese pairs nicely with the hops and malty sweetness of a golden ale.
But everyone’s taste is different – so don’t be scared to experiment. Our best tip is to start with the light beers and mild cheeses before moving onto the fuller flavoured cheese and beer combinations.
Being a cheese and beer lover, it’s hard to say I have a favourite! There’s a huge variety of well-made cheese and hand crafted beer on offer in Melbourne. I particularly enjoy Yarra Valley Dairy’s Le Jack, it’s beautifully nutty with an earthy mushroomy flavour, it goes perfectly with our IPA.
We’ve actually been working with Stone and Crow to create a unique cheese for Jo Barrett and Harry Corder’s Private Dining Room Dinner (Thursday 8 Sept), our Russian Imperial Stout is matured in the cheese!
Where did your love of beer and cheese come from?
My first awareness of good cheese came about when, as an apprentice at Paul Bocuse, my final job was packing down the cheese trolley. Working in Italy and France exposed me to some regional specialities that I carry the memory of to this day equally, it’s no exaggeration to say that Australian artisanal cheesemakers are producing cheeses that rival their more celebrated French counterparts in quality. This is a fact we stand by at
Two Tall Chefs, and our range includes some of Australia’s best artisan cheeses, as well as the international flagships.
This has developed at Two Tall Chefs where we taste a wide range of craft beers and cheeses before we add them to our ever-evolving menus and deli offerings.
I’ve always loved craft beer and artisan cheese and, having had the opportunity to experiment with combining the two has been revolutionary! It’s fun to step away from the tradition of cheese and wine tasting. The wonderful world of craft beer offers such a wide range of flavours, ingredients and textures which can take the pairing to a whole new level.
Who came up with the idea for this event?
The idea for a beer and cheese afternoon was seen as a way to promote our newly renovated backyard, welcome spring and share Hargraves Hill’s range of core and speciality brews.
What do Monte and Ruby envisage or hope for the day? What experience do they want visitors to have?
Good weather for a start because we have the band and tasting in the newly renovated backyard. We hope to give people an understanding of beer and cheese matching and what to look for. Topped off with a beer and cheese quiz, and a good old-fashioned meat raffle, visitors can expect a smashingly good time.
We love supporting local venues and events and, sharing our craft beer in the community! It’s so exciting to be involved in the launch of Two Tall Chef’s renovated outdoor space – it will be a great hang out during the warmer months. We’ve worked closely with Monte to create a well-rounded cheese and beer experience that we can’t wait to share. It will be a fun afternoon with live music too and is the perfect gift experience for Father’s Day!
Hargreaves Hill Beer and Cheese Tasting
Two Tall Chefs @ The Cheese Shop
665 Nicholson Street,
$25 per person
Bookings required. Call (03) 9381 1777