Many thanks to Calum at Kapiti Cheese for inviting me along to this great event on Tuesday. Kapiti has a beautiful new store on Shortland Street in Auckland. With the granting of their on-sale license, they celebrated with a beer and cheese matching event.
I was joined by a small group of other beer/cheese lovers as well as Luke and Kelly from Epic Brewing.
To start, we tried NZ Craft Beer TV Mash Up paired first with a soft goat cheese, then with an herb triple cream. In both cases, the creamy cheeses counter balanced the hoppy beer, each re-set your palate and made the other taste so nice.
Our task was to try one of the Epic beer range and match it with each of the cheeses available in an exploratory free-for-all. Some of the matches worked better for me than others, but I left full and happy. Some of the more successful matches included:
Protamarillo (apparently, one of the last bottles for miles!) with Port Nicholson, a washed rind cheese with a smokey character. Both beer and cheese had this element and the combination made each more wonderful.
Armageddon with cumin gouda or with French goat cheese
Epic stout with the aged cheddar, tuteremoana. In fact, this cheddar kept my attention most of the night. So intense with tiny crystals of joyful flavour throughout. Gorgeous.
And lastly, The Sultan from 8-Wire Brewing, a port-like Belgian beer worked well with the kikorangi blue cheese.
Overall, the event was a fun social night and I really enjoyed talking with the others, including Sam, of House of Whiskey. Sam and I had a very interesting conversation about alcohol content and flavour profiles. I am not much of a spirits drinker but I love the art and chemistry behind the production when it is done right. Hmm, just like craft beer. It must be a theme.
My only suggestion for future tastings is that I really missed hearing the information about the cheese. I feel I know a fair amount about beer, but cheese is a bit of a black box for me. Tell me the history or stories about these cheeses we were trying. I know Calum and the rest of the Kapiti staff know their cheese. A more structured event with shared information about both the beer (Luke and Kelly were there, after all) and the cheese would have gone a long way. Otherwise, it’s just a social gathering with interesting people who share your love of well made beer & cheese.
My other thought is that with both products each was a big, bold flavour. When you add 6 amazing big beers to 7 also amazing big cheeses = overwhelmed taste buds. I started to miss the subtle nuances of character. It doesn’t change the awesomeness of each individually, but after awhile, it’s hard to savor and concentrate on each.
I highly recommend a visit to the new store. Not only do they have cheese (and beer too) but they have ice cream. Who doesn’t like ice cream?