26 Sep 2008

Learning

Though many seem to think so, I am no beer expert. Yes, I do know more than the average person, but that is mostly thanks to my curiosity and the fact that I pay attention to what I drink, but that does not make me an expert. For example, I don't know as much as I would like about brewing, something that I hope to correct soon, once I start making beer at home, which is, I think, the best way to learn.

I know even less about pairings of food and beer. I don't think it's a science, it is more about experience, memory and some common sense, and also, trial and error.

With this Philosphy in mind I decided to try pairing a Fuerteventura cheese and a beer. Fuerteventura is a goat cheese from the namesake island, one of the Canaries. Its texture, consistency and aroma are very similar to some very cured Manchego I've had. It is also similar in taste, though Fuerteventura might be a little stronger and spicier, the latter due partly to the crust coated in spicy paprika powder, which gives the cheese a very particular character. I really like it a lot.

What beer could I drink with it? What beer could tame it a little? I had already eaten it with some Svijanský Rytíř and the cheese quickly overwhelms the beer, which does atenuate a little the wilder notes of Fuerteventura, but ends up lost among that much fire.

I remembered then that I had a bottle of Primátor Double 24%. I smiled and put it in the fridge for an hour or so.

The restult was brilliant. Double is a really sweet beer, with intense licorice notes, together with burnt sugar and some chocolate, at times is excessive. But they got along wonderfully with Fuerteventura, as if they had known each other all their lives. Each enchanced the best of the other. The beer made it easier to eat the cheese and the cheese made it easier to drink the beer, without either of them loosing their identity. It is interesting how a cheese made on a dry, inhospitable island in the Atlantic Ocean can pair so well with a beer brewed in the temperate and wet North East of the Czech Republic.
I don't think you can find this cheese here. I got it thanks to María Angeles and her friend, who brought it (together with a bottle of Dry Malvasía) as a thank you gift for the advice I had given them through private messages in Los Viajeros forums before their trip to Prague. I'm not expecting people to bring me presents, but I am not going to dissuade them either.

Na Zdraví!

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great pairing. I wonder if Pardubický Porter would work as well. Or Doppel-Doppel Bock.

    Another thought: is there a Czech cheese which would go well with a beer from the islands?

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  2. I think Pardubický Porter would have done the job quite well, not so Doppel-Doppel Bock. It's been a long time since I had it, but its syrup and fruit wouldn't match that cheese, probably a less cured one, would do.

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  3. I can imagine a wonderfully mature stilton also going very well with the Primator Double. Will have to bring some back from UK in a couple of weeks to try out.

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  4. A personal favorite of mine for pairing several different styles of beer is a well-aged Gouda. The salty crystals and nutty, semisweet flavors can really bring out the complexity of some beers.

    Actually, you've inspired me to pick some up when I'm out next. I haven't sat down with a good pairing in a while, and now I'm craving it!

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  5. That does sound bloody delicious! Especially the beer! Where can i get some?! :D

    I'm with E.S. on the well-aged gouda, and any hard slaty cheese. I crave strong salty cheeses to have with robust ales. In fact, almost any beer! Partly habit perhaps, but it just works for me.

    Mr. Filosof, I'm glad you think you are not an expert. In work I am sometimes introduced to people as the comapny's beer expert. I consider myself a complete student, and say so! And even though I do make my own beer, that just gives some from-the-ground understanding of what ingredients and conditions can do to make a beer taste such a way, but there's still an unlimited world of taste sensations to experience. I'll never be an expert, and I'm glad! :)

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  6. I don't think you can get Primátor in Germany, but if you ever make it to CZ, be sure to look for some.

    I'm also introduced as a beer expert, I never deny it, but I never take it very seriously. I think is the same with everything, someone knows a bit more than the average about something, and he or she is almost automatically considered an expert.

    But actually, even experts still must keep on learning. That is, unless they are experts on something that does not evolve anymore, which must be quite boring.

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