An online cheese and beer tasting: Can it get any better when you’re stuck at home?

An online cheese and beer tasting: Can it get any better when you’re stuck at home?

I taste tested three cheeses from Beehive Cheese Company in Utah. Pam LeBlanc photo

I love cheese. And beer’s pretty good, too.
So when a box of artisan wedges from Beehive Cheese Company arrived, I was stoked. And the shipment of craft beers from Roosters Brewing Company that followed made me swoon.
Both were supplies for an online course I took recently titled “The Birds and the Bees,” featuring Utah-made products.
Two things before we begin. One of my favorite sayings is, “A day without cheese is like a day without sunshine.” Also, I’m always eager to hone up on my knowledge about “The Birds and the Bees.”
On the designated evening, I brought out the cheese and the beer, fired up my computer, and tuned in to a Zoom conference call. Jacquie King, head brewer at Roosters Brewing in Ogden, and Katie Schall, a marketing representative for nearby Beehive, led us through a taste test of three cheeses, each paired with two beers.
Before we dove in, she gave us some suggestions. When you eat cheese, smell it, crack it open and look at the curd structure first. Nibble it, chewing slowly as it gets more and more buttery in your mouth.
As for the beer, pour it, let bubbles form as it opens up, then sniff it, sip it, and sip it again with a little cheese in your mouth.
“I think it elevates the beer and the cheese, and brings out the taste of the Utah desert,” King says.
I’ll agree with that.

We tried two beers with each cheese.

Pairing 1:
Beehive’s Promontory cheese, a creamy, slightly sweet cheddar that tastes vaguely like buttered toast, won my vote for best cheese of the night. It’s made with cows’ milk – half Holstein and half jersey – and aged 6 months, and named after Promontory Point, where the golden spike was pounded in when the Transcontinental Railroad was finished. It had those amazing little crystals that give it a slight crunch with every nibble.
We tasted it with two beers …
High Desert Hazy – I’m not usually a fan of super hoppy beer, but I loved this session IPA. Smooth, not edgy, and juicy. This was my favorite of the night.
Rooster Tail Hazy – I tasted hints of blueberry and strawberry in this one, even though there’s not blueberry or strawberry actually in it. Whatever.

Pairing 2:
For round two, we unwrapped Beehive’s Big John’s Cajun, another cheddar, but this one features a rind rubbed with Cajun spice. Since my husband’s Cajun, I figured I’d like it. And I did, but the spice overpowered the beautiful cheese a bit. I’ll stick with Promontory.
We tasted it with two beers …
Bees Knees honey wheat – I’ve always loved wheat beer, and this golden-colored ale had a crisp, balanced flavor with a zap of honey at the end. It muted the heat of the Cajun cheese nicely and even made me notice some subtle herb flavors.
Patio Pilsner – This dry-hopped pale blonde has a strong malt flavor. I’m not a big pilsner fan, so this one got lower marks from me.

I’ve been taking a lot of fun online classes with Utah distilleries, creameries and breweries.

Pairing 3:
The third time around, we went all out, sampling Beehive’s Barely Buzzed cheddar. The cheesemakers apparently got a wild hair one day and rubbed the rind of a baby wheel of cheddar with espresso and lavender. It tastes like toast sprinkled with flower petals, and works best as a dessert.
We tasted it with two beers …
Rude Ram Red – Going along with the dessert theme, this one tasted like an adult chocolate malt, with notes of caramel and a swirl of hops.
Ninerbock Doppelbock – More dessert in a glass, this time with toffee and caramel flavors, and not a lot of bitterness. (It’d be good in barbecue sauce.)

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