Beer and cheese tastings are nothing new around Atlanta. But suddenly it seems more and more cheese is showing up alongside beer both at familiar and surprising places.
Recently, the Ritz Carlton Buckhead (3434 Peachtree Road N.E., 404-237-2700) began offering a selection of three paired beers and cheeses from a menu created by sommelier Robert Evans. The tasting is available daily for $18 in the Lobby Lounge.
Not surprisingly, the Ritz’s take is quite elegant, with cheeses artfully arranged on a wooden board, accompanied by crackers and nuts, plus jellies and jams from Fairywood Thicket farm in Fairburn, GA.
Currently, Evans is featuring two Oregon companies, Rogue Creamery and Rogue Brewery — which aren’t affiliated, except by location, dedication to quality, and some collaborations that blend beer and cheese.
The pairings include, Morimoto Soba Ale and Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar, Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Smokey Blue Cheese, and Chocolate Stout and Chocolate Stout Cheddar.
Each offers a winning combination of flavors. But the blue cheese, which is smoked over hazelnut shells, is particularly good with the nutty brown ale.
Evans will be leading a group tasting every Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. 404-240-7035 for reservations.
In addition to offering a daily cheese plate, the Brick Store Pub in Decatur (125 East Court Square, 404-687-0990) has been putting on a series of artisan cheese and craft beer events for over four years now.
At 6 p.m. on the first Monday of every month, folks gather in the Brick Store’s Belgian Bar to sample five different beers paired with five different cheeses. Cost is $30. No reservations are taken. You start when you’re seated, and service runs until the cheese is gone.
Brick Store partner Mike Gallagher presides over the tastings, putting together tantalizing pairings, along with lots of good information on the beer and cheese makers. Typically, Gallagher features a theme, such as Trappist ales and cheeses or Southeastern creameries and breweries.
On February 14, it’s a clever Valentine’s Day tasting, dubbed “Blue and Sour,” with three blue cheeses paired with three Belgian sour ales: Roaring 40s and Lindemans Cuvee Renee; Bayley Hazen and Oud Beersel Kriek; Roquefort and Duchesse de Bourgogne.
Recently, Georgia’s Sweetgrass Dairy used the WD-50 Imperial Stout from Five Seasons Westside (1000 Marietta Street N.W., 404-875-3232) to create a beer-washed version of its award-winning Green Hill soft-ripened, cow’s milk cheese. It will be available for tasting for a limited time at Westside.
Every Tuesday evening, it’s Beer Geek Tuesday at Cypress Street Pint & Plate in Midtown (817 West Peachtree Street, 404-815-9243), with a featured brewery, cask ale or food pairing.
Not long ago, it was four Unibroue beers paired with four cheeses from Sweetgrass Dairy. Look for more beer and cheese events soon.