If you read All About Beer Magazine, and you should, you will have read my review this month of Great Divide Brewing’s new Belgica ale, a highly hopped beer fermented with Belgian yeast. And for those of you who don’t read AABM, I’ll summarize: it’s fruity and spicy with some nice citrusy hoppiness, and I like it. Quite a bit.
What caught my eye on the label, however, was the brewery’s suggestion that Belgica would marry quite well with one of my favourite cheeses, époisses. I vowed at the end of my review that I would try the pairing just as soon as I could get my hands on a round of the famously stinky cheese.
This I have now done, except that I was forced to resort to the pasteurized version that Berthault sells in the U.S. and, apparently, Canada now, rather than the proper raw milk version. It’s not the same cheese, really, much like a pasteurized brie has nothing in common with a raw milk brie, but it was the best I could do and, presumably, what the Denver-based brewery would have been referring to.
I was interested because I have not as yet found a single beer that marries well with époisses, nor a wine, for that matter, and was intrigued with the idea that this could be the one. Unfortunately, it was not. It’s certainly better than anything I’ve tried with this magnificent Burgundian cheese thus far, but the harmonies are at best pleasant, rather than spectacular. The two flavours exist side-by-side well enough, but neither enhances the other, which to my mind is what a great food and beer partnership should do.
The search continues…