As part of our Byte of Texas programming, American Cheese Society Professionals Michele Haram and Tiffany Cunningham, along with Stephanie McClenny of Confituras, will be presenting Mousetrap: Pairing Texas Beers with Cheese and Preserves. The following was written by Tiffany Cunningham.
There is something very intriguing about beer, cheese and preserves. They taste great together and it might be hard to understand why. All three are born from similar backgrounds-on the farm. They all come from the land. Cheese is made from the milk of dairy animals that eat food from the land, beer is made from grains, hops and barley that are grown in soil and preserves come from fruit or vegetables also grown in the land.
All 3 are also a way to preserve food. Before there was refrigeration preserving food was a necessity and people were pretty creative. They came up with a way to feed themselves through harsh winters where food wasn’t readily accessible. Let’s talk about making jam first. They took fruit and heated it, then realized that adding sugar to it will create a great spread for any occasion.
I find this to be absolutely brilliant and something I never would have come up with me by myself. Beer was created almost accidentally when grains fermented in water. It is a wonder that anyone ever tried this drink because the fermentation process created a large foam on top that was not appetizing to look
at. But, they were brave and thirsty and found that it altered their mood so they kept on drinking it.
At times in history it was actually encouraged to drink beer over water because it was more sanitary. Sign me up for that! And of course cheese is created through the fermentation process also. The first cheeses made were fresh soft cheeses, and it too is a way of preserving a fresh ingredient. You take milk and then you add something that will curdle it, then separate out the liquid from the solids, add salt and you have a delicious cheese. I am truly amazed at how many endless possibilities there are from just four simple ingredients. That is all that is needed to make cheese.
I for one am very thankful that people much smarter than myself came up with these amazing fermented, preserved products. I eat or drink them every day!
Here are some of my favorite beer and cheese pairings:
- Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar with Founder’s Centennial IPA
- Uniekaas Reserve Gouda with Real Ale Brewhouse Brown Ale
- Karbach Brewery Love Street Kolsch with Vermont Creamery Plain Chevre